Discount broker Willis Owen has reported a 56% surge in sales so far this year, compared to the same period in 2013, as well as an 87% leap in new clients. This comes as more and more investors explore the DIY investment route in the light of changes to the way financial advice is charged.

The rise in interest also comes as retail investors say they are now much more confident about the UK economy than they were a year ago. With revised GDP figures today confirming that the economic recovery is well underway, a poll of Willis Owen customers found that six in ten people (60%) are more confident about the outlook for the economy compared with 12 months ago. Only 8% feel less confident, with 32% unchanged.

Jason Chapman, Managing Director at Willis Owen, said:

It appears investors are making the most of the positive economic news at the moment, and with the FTSE nearing record highs this week, it’s understandable why tails are up.

I hope the improving economic situation encourages more people to think about their finances. The fact is millions of people aren’t saving enough and won’t have enough money in retirement. I encourage people to take a look at the range of online options that are out there, including discount brokers, who can provide services to boost their finances.

When it comes to investment ISAs, our customers tell us that they want simple, easy-to-navigate services which provide all the information needed to make informed decisions. That’s what we’ve been striving to produce and customer feedback to our Your Space and Play Space services has been great.

ISAs are one of the few remaining tax breaks available to everyone. With just over a month until the tax deadline, we urge people to make the most of their ISA allowance while they still can. Money hidden away in a low interest savings account could be working harder in an investment ISA.”

Key facts about Willis Owen services:

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• Access to over 2300 funds from all the major investment houses

• Ability to invest within an ISA wrapper, a Unit Trust or an Open Ended Investment Company

• Clean funds available from January 2014

• Free ISA transfer service

• Free access to investment analysis tools

• Access to an ISA Cash Reserve fund to park your money before you invest

• Annual ISA guide

• Investor Support Desk where you can speak to a real person not a computer, for friendly, helpful guidance 24 hours a day, seven days a week

Twitter: @WillisOwenLtd

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