Most popular ISA funds and shares in January

Laith Khalaf
4 February 2021

•    Baillie Gifford still going strong
•    ISA investors have been buying Gamestop and AMC
•    Only one UK equity fund or trust features in the most popular list
•    ISA investors playing the ESG theme

Laith Khalaf, financial analyst at AJ Bell, comments:

“As we approach the end of the tax year, DIY ISA investors are still choosing global funds to populate their portfolios. Notably only one of the top ten funds and trusts invests in UK equities, namely City of London. The data reflects ISA purchases in January, and it will be interesting to see whether the success of the UK’s vaccine roll out fosters greater flows into domestically focused funds in the coming month.

“Baillie Gifford funds continue to prove popular after sweeping the boards with their 2020 performance. A preference for growth stocks, and in particular a holding in Tesla, has helped bolster returns from many of Baillie Gifford’s funds. Funds investing in the far east are also punching above their weight when it comes to ISA flows, as investors allocate to areas of the world which have managed to contain the coronavirus.

“The most popular shares purchased in ISAs in January were an eclectic mix of UK value stocks, technology plays, and inevitably two of the stocks targeted by the Reddit group WallStreetBets, Gamestop and AMC. Some UK investors clearly sought to cash in on the extreme volatility in Gamestop stock created by the trading activity of WallStreetBets members. The fact they chose to do so in an ISA, where capital gains are tax-free, suggests they were motivated by profits rather than sticking it to the man. Unless it’s the tax man, that is. 

“ISA investors also picked out some ESG themed investments for their portfolios, after a record-breaking year for fund flows into responsible investments in 2020. Baillie Gifford Positive Change, ITM Power and Renewable Infrastructure all tick the box for ESG investors. Given the increasing global focus on lowering carbon emissions, and the range of responsible funds now available to investors, it looks like the ESG trend is set to continue for the foreseeable.”

Top ten funds, shares and investment trusts with AJ Bell Youinvest ISA investors in January



Investment trusts

Fundsmith Equity

Argo Blockchain

Scottish Mortgage IT

Baillie Gifford American


Monks IT

Baillie Gifford Positive Change


Edinburgh Worldwide IT

Baillie Gifford Global Discovery


Smithson IT

Baillie Gifford China

Rolls Royce

Pacific Horizon IT

Vanguard Lifestrategy 80%


JP Morgan China G&I IT

Fidelity Global Special Situations


Allianz Technology IT

Fidelity Index World


Baillie Gifford US IT

Polar Capital Global Technology

ITM Power

City of London IT

Baillie Gifford Pacific


Renewable Infrastructure IT

Source: AJ Bell, excludes AJ Bell managed funds

Laith Khalaf
Financial Analyst

Laith Khalaf started his career in 2001, after studying philosophy at Cambridge University. He’s worked in a variety of roles across pensions and investments, covering both the DIY and the advised sides of the business. In 2007, he began to focus on research and analysis, and has since become a leading industry commentator, as well as a regular contributor to the financial pages of the national press. He’s a frequent guest on TV and radio, and for several years provided daily business bulletins on LBC.

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