US ETF assets continue to grow, topping $3.6trn: Cerulli

US investors continued to pile into exchange-traded funds last month, driving total assets under management in the category to a new high of more than $3.6trn (£2.58trn, €2.93trn), “on the back of 6.1% month-over-month growth”, according to the latest data from Cerulli Associates.

The growth in the ETF sector came as US investors added a net total of $51.3bn to their mutual funds holdings in January, which, the Boston-based research group noted, was the highest monthly figure in more than three years.

Asset growth came in at 3.4%, “surpassing the $15trn threshold”, Cerulli said.

Inflows to the ETF sector during the month surpassed $76bn, representing 2.2% organic growth, according to Cerulli.

The findings were contained in the February issue of Cerulli’s monthly product trends publication, The Cerulli Edge.

Other key points in the issue:

• Retail wealth managers can, Cerulli believes, “learn from the institutional market’s focus on objectives and portfolio risks”. Such asset managers “can package multi-asset-class investments as a way to address specific risks in retail investor portfolios,” it notes, adding that “many asset managers are looking to multi-asset-class investments as a way to reestablish their competitive position, relative to passive investments”.

• While passive investment may be attracting the headlines and much of investors’ discretionary spending, most advisers (81%) “agree that active managers are ideal for certain asset classes”.

According to Cerulli, “across all channels, advisers reported that actively-managed ETFs make up 11% of their allocation across both active and passive products”.

While this might seem a “small sleeve of adviser portfolios”, it is, Cerulli points out, important to note that this allocation persists, even among larger practices.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Helen Burggraf
Helen Burggraf is Chief Correspondent for International Investment. She is a US-trained journalist who has worked in Rome, New York City and London, covering among other things the fashion and retailing industries, the global drinking water and water-treatment sector, private equity, and most recently, the international cross-border financial services/advice industry.

Read more from Helen Burggraf

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