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Vaccine hopes inject new life into UK-based fund flows -Calastone

LONDON, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Flows into British-based equity funds hit five-year highs in the fourth quarter on hopes coronavirus vaccines would kickstart economies, data from fund network Calastone showed.

Equity fund net inflows totalled 4.6 billion pounds ($6.26 billion) in Oct-Dec 2020 and inflows in December were 2.4 billion pounds as global stocks reached record highs.

Unusually, most flows were into active, rather than index-tracking passive funds, Calastone said on Wednesday.

Active fund managers have lost out to cheaper passive funds in recent years, but demand for environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategies have given them a new lease of life.

However, funds with a UK focus did badly as investors feared Brexit without a trade deal, a situation averted only in late December. Funds investing in UK assets saw 600 million pounds in outflows in the last quarter, although inflows for the year as a whole totalled 117 million pounds.

“Markets with high growth characteristics like Asia, emerging markets and the U.S. have benefited most from the uplift in valuations and this is reflected in fund flows too,” Edward Glyn, head of global markets at Calastone, said.

“Those with low growth characteristics and a high yield, like the UK, have been left far behind.”

Overall, funds investing in all asset classes saw 33.8 billion pounds in net inflows in 2020, up 32% from 2019.

More than two thirds of UK-based fund flows by value pass across the Calastone network each month. ($1 = 0.7353 pounds) (Reporting by Carolyn Cohn; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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