The SPDR S&P 500 (SPY | A-97) is arguably the most important ETF in the world. Launched in January 1993, it was the first U.S.-listed exchange-traded fund. Thanks to that head start, today the fund boasts more assets than the next three largest ETFs combined.
On Friday, SPY reached rarefied territory, hitting $198.9 billion in assets. A record high for the ETF's underlying index―the S&P 500―as well as strong recent inflows helped push SPY close to the $200 billion milestone.
The fund's assets have nearly doubled in the past four years, and have quadrupled in the past 10 years.
Not The First Time
With nearly $200 billion in assets, SPY is in rarefied air for any fund, not just an ETF. According to Bloomberg, only three mutual funds have assets exceeding that amount: the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index ($378 billion), the Vanguard Institutional Index Fund ($204 billion) and the Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund ($201 billion).
But this isn't the first time SPY's assets have flirted with the $200 billion level. The fund's AUM reached its peak back in December 2014 at $219 billion.
SPY Total Net Assets
Even though the S&P 500 is now a few percentage points higher than it was back then, SPY lost billions in assets from outflows. In 2015, redemptions in the fund totaled $30.2 billion, as investors turned to competing ETFs.
2015 Fund Flows