UK shareholders hiding millions under the mattress

Article date: 18 February 2002

UK shareholders are sticking their shares under the mattressrather than actively trading them on the stock market, according toresearch by online personal finance service

Four out of five shareholders questioned said they had notbought or sold shares in the past 12 months, the most common excusebeing that they were waiting for the markets to pick up (26 percent).

Others quoted apathy, the perceived costs and the uncertainty ofhow to go about buying or selling shares being among the reasonsfor sitting on their portfolio and doing nothing.

There’s a lot of money involved, with around half of thoseshareholders interviewed holding shares worth £5,000 or more.

And six per cent didn't actually know whether they owned anyshares or not.

Of those questioned, 16% said they were keeping their shares fora rainy day - this at a time when a growing number of commentatorsare saying that now is a good time to invest for medium orlong-term gains.

Twice as many of those shareholders who had traded in the pastyear are hooked up to the web as those who left their shares wherethey were, suggesting that people who regularly use the internetare more switched on to share trading.

Commenting on the research, Rob Davies, brand manager,, said: "Our research shows that whilst a quarterof the population own shares, very few have actually traded –some, undoubtedly put off by the perceived complexity and expenseof some share-dealing services.

"Our service appeals to all share investors – the lessexperienced and the day traders – because it is astraightforward, low cost and, being online, convenient way to buyand sell shares.

“With a trade costing as little as £5* and helpful andjargon- free tools to guide you through - including a virtualportfolio that allows you to track investments without committingyour money - the service aims to encourage people who haven’ttraded for some time to re-enter the market.

“And the stock market is currently offering an extendedJanuary sale, so there are plenty of potential bargains to be hadby online Britons. We are already seeing dealing activity pickingup among our customers.”'s online share dealing service can only befound at


Press contact:
Louise Zucchi at Norwich Union on 08703 66 68 60

Notes to editors

  • This survey was carried out by Taylor Nelson Sofres between18-20 January 2002. 1,003 people, aged 16+, were interviewed onthe telephone across the UK.
  • was launched in May 2001 and provides acomprehensive range of free, interactive financial planning toolsand impartial money guides, designed to help people make betterfinancial decisions by making complex money matters simple.
  • A fund supermarket ISA, offered by Limited, andshare dealing service are the first in a range of products thatwill subsequently include a number of banking products.
  • Norwich Union is the UK’s largest insurer offering acomprehensive range of long-term savings and general insuranceproducts.
  • Norwich Union’s news releases are available on thisinternet site
  • A selection of images are available from the Norwich UnionNewscast site at
  • An ISDN facility is available for studio quality interviews.Call the press office on 08703 66 68 68

For life and pension media enquiries 08703 66 68 73 For allother media enquiries 08703 66 68 68

*The £5 per deal plus stamp duty and PTM levy, if applicable, isa special offer which commenced on 7 January 2002 and will finishon 31 March 2002. The operation of this special offer is entirelywithin our discretion, further we reserve the right to withdraw thespecial offer at anytime. An additional £5 will be charged fortrading over the phone and from 1 April 2002 our standard pricingfor share dealing will apply. Please note that there are additionalquarterly management charges of £9.95 once you have set up youraccount online. Please read the full terms and conditions on web site for important details.

Please remember that past performance is no guide to futureperformance. These are risk investments and their value, and anyincome from them can go down as well as up.

The online share dealing service is provided byPershing Securities Limited (Pershing) who are regulated by theFinancial Services Authority and are members of the London StockExchange and LIFFE. By using the service, customers will form acontract with Pershing and all share trades effected by customerswill be with Pershing. To market the service, Norwich Union WealthManagement Limited is regulated by the Financial Services Authorityfor investment business.

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