2017 ETF Inflows Big Record Breaker

December 29, 2017

[Editor's Note: The article and tables were updated on Jan. 2 to include the complete data for 2017.]

Flows into exchange-traded funds finished the year just how they started―on a tear. A whopping $52 billion of new money came into U.S.-listed ETFs during December, pushing inflows for the year as a whole to $476.1 billion. Total assets now top $3.4 trillion.

The data, which comes from FactSet, includes flows for every trading day of 2017. The $476.1 billion figure was far and away a record for annual inflows, blowing past the previous all-time high from last year of $287.5 billion.

US Equity ETFs The Most Popular
A strong December propelled U.S. equities into the lead as the most popular asset class among ETF investors. That segment collected $180.2 billion of fresh money during the year thanks to steady gains in the stock market―the S&P 500 ended the year up by 21.8%―with record low volatility.  The passage of the Republican tax bill in December raised hopes that the rally could continue in 2018.

The top asset gainer of the year was a U.S. equity ETF tracking the venerable S&P 500: The iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (IVV) had inflows of $30.2 billion, bringing its total assets under management to $142.2 billion. IVV is the second ETF in history to surpass the $100 billion AUM mark.

The Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VOO) and the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) were the only two other U.S. equity ETFs to make the top 10 inflows list for the year.

Investors Go Global
The second-most-popular asset class among ETF investors was international equities, which took in $161.6 billion. In many cases, international equities performed better than their U.S. counterparts.

For example, the iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (IEMG) and the Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (VWO) both increased by more than 30%. They were also popular among investors, with 2017 inflows of $16.6 billion and $9.3 billion, respectively.

But the fund to take the mantle of the most popular international ETF was the iShares Core MSCI EAFE ETF (IEFA), with creations of $20.9 billion.

Other Noteworthy Funds
Other noteworthy funds on the top inflows list include the iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF (AGG) and the iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF (LQD), which took in $11 billion each. The benchmark 10-year Treasury bond yield edged down from 2.44% at the start of the year to 2.41% at the end of the year.

Meanwhile, the VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX), the WisdomTree Europe Hedged Equity Fund (HEDJ) and the Xtrackers MSCI EAFE Hedged Equity ETF (DBEF) were the three ETFs to see the largest outflows during the year, losing between $1.8 billion and $3 billion apiece.

For a full list of the top inflows and outflows for the year, see the tables below:

 

Asset Classes (Year-to-Date)

  Net Flows ($, mm) AUM ($, mm) % of AUM
U.S. Equity 180,188.03 1,932,616.52 9.32%
International Equity 161,632.21 800,495.51 20.19%
U.S. Fixed Income 108,493.07 523,220.13 20.74%
International Fixed Income 17,298.74 58,601.46 29.52%
Commodities 1,475.68 66,482.82 2.22%
Currency -244.13 1,244.88 -19.61%
Leveraged 3,590.07 34,129.04 10.52%
Inverse 612.94 15,032.24 4.08%
Asset Allocation 1,541.05 8,873.64 17.37%
Alternatives 1,523.49 4,177.94 36.47%
Total: 476,111.16 3,444,874.16 13.82%

 

Top Gainers (Year-to-Date)

Ticker Name Issuer Net Flows ($,mm) AUM ($M) % of AUM December 2017 Net Flows($,M)
IVV iShares Core S&P 500 ETF BlackRock 30,236.81 142,215.64 27.00% 284.48
IEFA iShares Core MSCI EAFE ETF BlackRock 20,879.63 42,094.27 98.42% 800.90
VEA Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF Vanguard 17,465.50 68,441.21 34.26% 1,223.85
IEMG iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF BlackRock 16,575.13 42,604.14 63.68% 1,098.53
VOO Vanguard S&P 500 ETF Vanguard 14,792.27 84,106.22 21.34% 871.61
EFA iShares MSCI EAFE ETF BlackRock 11,197.11 84,487.65 15.28% 1,507.04
AGG iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF BlackRock 10,975.61 52,946.87 26.15% 686.94
LQD iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF BlackRock 10,789.20 39,008.39 38.23% -653.40
SPY SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust State Street Global Advisors 10,579.75 278,971.72 3.94% 20,859.56
VWO Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF Vanguard 9,264.97 66,388.41 16.22% -353.57

 

Biggest Losers (Year-to-Date)

Ticker Name Issuer Net Flows ($,mm) AUM ($M) % of AUM December 2017 Net Flows($,M)
GDX VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF VanEck -2,993.69 7,560.68 -28.36% -551.74
HEDJ WisdomTree Europe Hedged Equity Fund WisdomTree -2,643.85 7,606.69 -25.79% -995.25
DBEF Xtrackers MSCI EAFE Hedged Equity ETF Deutsche Bank -1,790.75 6,950.07 -20.49% -70.49
HYG iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF BlackRock -1,404.79 17,631.31 -7.38% -1,926.91
FXU First Trust Utilities AlphaDEX Fund First Trust -1,192.89 285.19 -80.71% -52.68
FXN First Trust Energy AlphaDEX Fund First Trust -1,155.64 234.06 -83.16% -9.75
USO United States Oil Fund LP US Commodity Funds -1,142.91 2,029.96 -36.02% -188.92
CIU iShares Intermediate Credit Bond ETF BlackRock -1,074.71 7,715.23 -12.23% -613.46
IWF iShares Russell 1000 Growth ETF BlackRock -1,005.90 40,524.84 -2.42% 81.26
EWW iShares MSCI Mexico ETF BlackRock -907.74 1,072.43 -45.84% 29.32

 

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