Big Shifts In ETF Ownership

May 25, 2021

[Editor’s Note: The following originally appeared on Logicly. Emil Tarazi is co-founder and CEO of ETFLogic.]

We love diving deep into 13F holdings to better understand the shifting landscape of ETF ownership amongst the biggest institutional owners.

Generally, institutions have 45 days after the end of the quarter to report their holdings. May 15, 2021 marked that day for the first quarter of 2021. In the following, we analyse the biggest shifts in ETF ownership as reported between the last two quarters.

Q1 2021 highlighted continued impressive growth in the ETF space as ETF share ownership grew by over 6% in a single quarter. ESG ownership increased by more than 50% of that baseline with a more than 12% increase in ESG shares held.

Gold positioning decreased, highlighting the general “risk on” bull-mentality that pervaded into the new year and through most of Q1 and early Q2.

Reading The Tea Leaves

Obviously, 13F data should always be taken with a grain of salt. Institutions tend to pare assets into quarter end and especially year end to keep their balance sheets looking slim. Also, the standard 45-day lag means that institutions have sufficient time to reposition their portfolios since last reporting publicly.

Here are some more interesting stats in institutional ETF ownership for Q1 2021. Any growth numbers are based on the Q4 2020 lookback:

13F data can vary significantly across dates and institutions due to different reporting standards as well as the timing of corporate actions. Every effort was made to normalize these differences. If you notice any errors in the data, please reach out to the team on engineering at etflogic.io.

Largest Institutional Positions & Ownership Change

SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) reigns supreme as the major S&P 500 positioning tool. However, Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VOO) wins in terms of growth in shares held, followed by iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (IVV). VOO and IVV have lower expense ratios than their older sibling, SPY.

iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (IEMG) +10% and Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (VWO) +4.9% growth win out over the developed market iShares Core MSCI EAFE ETF (IEFA), -1.6% and iShares MSCI EAFE ETF (EFA) -0.7%.

 

Largest Institutional Positions & Ownership Change
  Ticker Fund Asset Class $bn Held Q4->Q1
1 SPY S&P 500 ETF TRUST ETF Equity $152.51 1.5%
2 IVV iShares Core S&P 500 ETF Equity $145.07 9.3%
3 VOO Vanguard S&P 500 ETF Equity $72.02 20.6%
4 IWM iShares Russell 2000 ETF Equity $53.11 11.6%
5 IEFA BTC iShares Core MSCI EAFE ETF Equity $52.07 -1.6%
6 VEA Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF Equity $51.99 1.7%
7 IEMG iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF Equity $48.49 10.5%
8 QQQ Invesco QQQ Trust Series 1 Equity $46.54 7.4%
9 VTI Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF Equity $46.47 1.9%
10 AGG iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF Fixed Income $42.70 3.6%
11 VWO Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF Equity $34.78 4.9%
12 LQD iShares iBoxx USD Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF Fixed Income $32.18 -17.1%
13 VCIT Vanguard Intermediate-Term Corporate Bond ETF Fixed Income $31.50 9.6%
14 IJR iShares Core S&P Small-Cap ETF Equity $31.16 3.6%
15 IJH iShares Core S&P Mid-Cap ETF Equity $31.03 -0.7%
16 IWF iShares Russell 1000 Growth ETF Equity $30.64 -3.0%
17 VUG Vanguard Growth ETF Equity $28.69 -2.7%
18 VTV Vanguard Value ETF Equity $27.43 6.4%
19 BND Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF Fixed Income $27.20 9.9%
20 EFA iShares MSCI EAFE ETF Equity $27.05 -0.7%

 

Largest Equity ETF Ownership Change In Equity-Focused ETFs With Over $1Bn In Notional Held

Here we look at equity-focused ETFs with more than $1bn in notional holdings. A large ETF model portfolio shift into iShares U.S. Energy ETF (IYE) was seen in Q1 2021, driving much of the assets into this US energy sector-focused name.

VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF (SMH) and SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT) saw big swings in opposite directions, highlighting the increased need for semiconductors and the decrease in fortunes of retail shopping.

An increase in positioning of SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (XHB) by end of Q1 is also quite impressive, as that bet has paid off handsomely with recent price action.

 

Largest % Ownership Change In Equity-Focused ETFs With Over $1bn In Notional Held
  Ticker Fund Asset Class $bn Held Q4->Q1
1 IYE iShares U.S. Energy ETF Equity $1.34 665.1%
2 FXR First Trust Industrials/Producer Durables AlphaDEX Fund Equity $1.04 575.3%
3 JPHY JPMorgan High Yield Research Enhanced ETF Equity $1.35 323.3%
4 EFV BTC iShares MSCI EAFE Value ETF Equity $7.07 147.2%
5 VTWO Vanguard Russell 2000 Index ETF Equity $1.00 67.9%
6 RDVY First Trust Rising Dividend Achievers ETF Equity $1.43 60.8%
7 IJJ iShares S&P Mid-Cap 400 Value ETF Equity $4.23 56.3%
8 KBE SPDR S&P Bank ETF Equity $1.33 50.3%
9 RSP Invesco S&P 500 Equal Weight ETF Equity $10.37 49.2%
10 KRE SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF Equity $3.36 48.9%
11 XLE The Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund Equity $9.82 39.6%
12 SUSA MSCI USA ESG Select ETF Equity $1.17 38.9%
13 EWC iShares MSCI Canada ETF Equity $2.11 38.3%
14 SMH VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF Equity $3.03 35.0%
15 ARKK ARK Innovation ETF Equity $3.92 32.9%
16 XLF Financial Select Sector SPDR Equity $19.66 32.6%
17 ARKG ARK Genomic Revolution ETF Equity $1.09 31.5%
18 XRT SPDR Retail ETF Equity $1.10 -30.3%
19 XSOE WisdomTree Emerging Markets ex-State-Owned Enterprises Fund Equity $1.84 29.9%
20 XHB SPDR Homebuilders ETF Equity $1.08 29.1%

 

Largest Ownership Change In Fixed Income ETFs

Here we look at fixed income ETFs with more than $1bn in notional holdings. The continued inverted yield curve and its ever-steepening slope have investors focused on expectations of increased inflation. We see big share ownership growth in Treasury inflation-protected securities (TIPS) names like iShares 0-5 Year TIPS Bond ETF (STIP), Vanguard Short-Term Inflation-Protected Securities ETF (VTIP) and Schwab U.S. TIPS ETF (SCHP).

High yield was a bit unloved, as we saw iShares 0-5 Year High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (SHYG) and iShares iBoxx USD High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (HYG) positions pared down. Positioning on the medium-to-longer end of the Treasury curve was strong, with names like SPDR Portfolio Long Term Treasury ETF (SPTL), iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT), SPDR Portfolio Intermediate Term Treasury ETF (ITE), iShares 7-10 Year Treasury Bond ETF (IEF) increasing.

 

Largest % Ownership Change In Fixed Income-Focused ETFs With Over $1bn In Notional Held
  Ticker Fund Asset Class $bn Held Q4->Q1
1 FALN iShares Fallen Angels USD Bond ETF Fixed Income $1.22 748.5%
2 IUSB BTC iShares Core Total USD Bond Market ETF Fixed Income $8.06 121.7%
3 SPTL SPDR Portfolio Long Term Treasury ETF Fixed Income $2.13 84.9%
4 SRLN SPDR Blackstone Senior Loan ETF Fixed Income $2.04 72.9%
5 STIP iShares 0-5 Year TIPS Bond ETF Fixed Income $1.92 53.3%
6 BKLN Invesco Senior Loan ETF Fixed Income $3.19 40.7%
7 SHYG iShares 0-5 Year High Yield Corporate Bond ETF Fixed Income $1.83 -37.5%
8 SCHP Schwab U.S. Tips ETF Fixed Income $11.70 27.0%
9 TLT BTC iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF Fixed Income $6.92 -25.0%
10 MBG SPDR Portfolio Mortgage Backed Bond ETF Fixed Income $2.89 23.5%
11 IEF BTC iShares 7-10 Year Treasury Bond ETF Fixed Income $7.90 22.3%
12 VTIP Vanguard Short-Term Inflation-Protected Securities Index Fund Fixed Income $4.52 19.3%
13 FLOT BTC iShares Floating Rate Bond ETF Fixed Income $2.38 17.4%
14 LQD iShares iBoxx USD Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF Fixed Income $32.18 -17.1%
15 FIXD First Trust TCW Opportunistic Fixed Income ETF Fixed Income $2.26 16.2%
16 ITE SPDR Portfolio Intermediate Term Treasury ETF Fixed Income $1.78 15.6%
17 VCSH Vanguard Short-Term Corporate Bond ETF Fixed Income $19.35 14.2%
18 SUB iShares Short-Term National Muni Bond ETF Fixed Income $1.99 14.2%
19 VTEB Vanguard Tax-Exempt Bond ETF Fixed Income $6.04 13.9%
20 HYG iShares iBoxx USD High Yield Corporate Bond ETF Fixed Income $13.32 -13.1%

 

Largest New ETF Entrants On Holders Filings

New entrants are defined as ETFs that did not show up in Q4 2020 filings but made it to Q1 2021. Many names appear to be thematic in nature. Main Thematic Innovation ETF (TMAT) is similar to the innovation-focused ARK Innovation ETF (ARKK) fund. AdvisorShares Alpha DNA Equity Sentiment ETF (SENT) is focused on sentiment analysis through leveraging alternative data sets, perhaps like scraping Reddit.

Many new entrants are in the growing field of options-embedded strategies that offer structured-product like returns. Fairly recent players here are AllianzIM and Cboe Vest. By definition, these ETFs will expire as they come to term, and new ETFs will take their place further out in the calendar.

 

Largest New ETF Entrants on Holders Filings
  Ticker Fund Asset Class $bn Held
1 CLDS Direxion Daily Cloud Computing Bear 2X Shares Equity $1.172
2 PSFF Pacer Swan SOS Fund of Funds ETF Equity $0.172
3 IMFL Invesco International Developed Dynamic Multifactor ETF Equity $0.133
4 HCRB Hartford Core Bond ETF Fixed Income $0.130
5 FUNL CornerCap Fundametrics Large-Cap ETF Equity $0.097
6 FJAN FT Cboe Vest U.S. Equity Buffer ETF - January Equity $0.058
7 SENT AdvisorShares Alpha DNA Equity Sentiment ETF Equity $0.055
8 TMAT Main Thematic Innovation ETF Equity $0.051
9 JSCP JPMorgan Short Duration Core Plus ETF Fixed Income $0.050
10 KNG FT Cboe Vest S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats Target Income ETF Equity $0.049
11 AZBJ AllianzIM U.S. Large Cap Buffer20 Jan ETF Equity $0.049
12 UMI USCF Midstream Energy Income Fund ETF Equity $0.044
13 EUCG Euclid Capital Growth ETF Equity $0.043
14 AZAJ AllianzIM U.S. Large Cap Buffer10 Jan ETF Equity $0.032
15 ONOF Global X Adaptive U.S. Risk Management ETF Equity $0.031
16 JEMA JPMorgan Emerging Markets Equity Core ETF Equity $0.029
17 ISWN Amplify BlackSwan ISWN ETF Equity $0.029
18 HYMU BlackRock High Yield Muni Income Bond ETF Fixed Income $0.021
19 KEMX KraneShares MSCI Emerging Markets ex China Index ETF Equity $0.021

 

Emil Tarazi is co-founder and CEO at ETFLogic, creators of the Logicly platform, which empowers advisors globally with deep-dive analytics, backtesting and holdings analysis on portfolios. Emil can be reached at emil at etflogic.io.

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