Investment Statistics

How many Brits are investing in stocks and shares?

29 May 2018

Investing in stocks and shares may seem very “wolf of wall street”, and the idea of starting off can be scary – how do you go around such a complicated topic? And how do you make sure you don’t risk too much while still making a reasonable profit?

However, the number of people who’s decided to give it a go is not as low as you may think: in fact, did you know almost 3 million Brits have money invested in stocks and shares? We analysed all the latest investment statistics to give you the low-down.

Quick overview

  • The total value of all stocks traded in the world is $77.662 trillion.
  • The London Stock Exchange (LSE) has a market capitlaisation of $3.61 trillion.
  • 12.3% of UK shares are owned by individuals.
  • 2.83 million people in the UK were subscribed to a stocks & shares ISA account in 2018.
  • 52% of women have never held an investment compared to 37% of men.

Who owns UK shares?

Shares in the UK are traded on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). These shares are available to buy by any individual or company around the world, so who owns the most?

  • 12.3% of UK shares are owned by individuals.
  • The majority of shares are owned by people or businesses overseas, at 53.9%.


Rest of the world 53.9%
Individuals 12.3%
Unit trusts 9.5%
Other financial institutions 8.1%
Insurance companies 4.9%
Pension funds 3.0%
Public sector 1.1%
Private non-financial corporations 2.2%
Investment trusts 2.1%
Banks 1.8%
Charities, church, etc 1.0%

Who is and who isn’t buying stocks and shares?

The risky world of stocks and shares isn’t for everyone, so who is and who isn’t buying shares in the UK?

  • 2.83 million people in the UK were subscribed to a stocks & shares ISA account in 2018.
  • On average per account, £10,100 is invested in a stocks and shares ISA in the UK.
  • 52% of women have never held an investment.
  • Compared to just 37% of men.
  • 21% of women currently hold an investment in the UK.
  • While over a third of men currently hold an investment (35%).

Why aren’t women investing in shares?

What is causing fewer women to invest than men in the UK? While it seems that both genders have similar thoughts about investing, women believe they lack the knowledge and the confidence to invest to the same extent as men.

  • In principle both men and women think investing is a good idea, at 54% and 45% respectively.
  • Both genders had equal amounts who disagreed that investing was a good idea at 10%.
  • Of those who have invested, the amount was also comparable at £34,647 for men and £33,502 for women.
  • Confidence however was a big divider, 45% of men feel confident while just 28% of women do.
  • Knowledge is also a key differential, with 26% of men feeling they have a good level of knowledge of stocks and shares compared to just 13% of women.

UK Foreign Direct Investment

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is the amount of money British individuals or businesses have invested in other countries. So how much money has been invested by the UK and into the UK?

  • More was invested into the UK than by the UK, resulting in net FDI falling from £50.8 billion in 2016 to £12.5 billion by the end of 2016.
  • This was mainly due a handful of high-value inward mergers and acquisitons (M&A).
  • These included the acquisitions of SABMiller, ARM Holdings and BG Group.

For all media enquiries, please contact

Matt Mckenna
UK Communications Manager
M: +44 747 921 7816
T: +44 20 3828 1338

Latest stats + facts articles

Uber vs taxi

Uber vs taxi

Sometimes it's more convenient to hop in a taxi than negotiating your way around public transport, but do you opt for an Uber or taxi? We've done some research to find out which is cheaper to help you make the decision. Read more…

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site