Private investors offloaded £9.1bn worth of shares in the final quarter of 2014 in the biggest sell-off since 2006, according to registrar Capita Asset Services.

Between September and November, it said investors sold £9.1bn of shares and by the end of the year held £220bn worth, or around 11 per cent of the overall market. Turnover was unusually heavy given that retail investors are usually long-term holders of equities.

Laith Khalaf at Hargreaves Lansdown said he found the analysis “peculiar”, as it suggested the selling exceeded even that seen at the peak of the financial crisis, and was at odds with other data showing £400m of inflows into UK equity funds in September and October.

Capita estimates the values based on an analysis of trading activity in the shares of companies whose registers it maintains. Some of these shares are held directly, in which case individuals’ names will appear on the register. But many are held through nominee accounts whereby the name of a corporate holding company will be the one on the record.

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