Fastest Growing ETFs Of 2018

Some of these ETFs have seen multifold increases in assets under management, but they may still be flying under the radar of most investors.

Sumit Roy
Reviewed by: Sumit Roy
Edited by: Sumit Roy

Here at, we talk a lot about flows. Each day, each week and each month, we put together lists of the ETFs that garner the largest inflows and the largest outflows of assets—an indication of where investors are putting their money to work.

Most of the time, the same batch of ETFs find themselves on these lists. These funds are usually super liquid, extraordinarily cheap and have billions of dollars in assets. For example, so far this year, the $59 billion iShares Core MSCI EAFE ETF (IEFA) and the $50 billion iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (IEMG) are seeing the largest inflows, totaling $16.4 billion and $8 billion, respectively.

No matter how you slice it, those are sizable inflows, and suggest that investors are enthusiastic about international equities this year. That said, IEFA and IEMG aren’t necessarily the ETFs growing the fastest. On an absolute basis they are, but on a percentage basis, their year-to-date inflows represent an increase of 38.8% and 18.6%, respectively, over their total assets at the start of the year. Those are impressive gains for such large ETFs, but nowhere close to the top of the heap.

On a percentage basis, there are loads of ETFs that have grown much faster in 2018—ETFs that almost never make our flows lists because they are starting from a much smaller asset base. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at these fast-growing funds, which, in many cases, are flying under the radar of the ETF investing public at large.

Yield Without Interest Rate Risk

In total, there are over 100 ETFs that have more than doubled their start-of-the-year asset total thanks to strong inflows. The fastest-growing ETF so far this year, the WisdomTree Bloomberg Floating Rate Treasury Fund (USFR), has done much better than that, with an asset surge of 5,000%.

To be sure, USFR, like many fast-growing ETFs, started the year at a low base. The fund only had assets under management (AUM) of $1.3 million at the beginning of 2018. Still, it’s impressive that those assets have grown to $65 million during the first four months of the year.

As a floating-rate product that resets its coupon weekly, USFR has almost no interest rate risk. That makes it an appealing option for investors who believe that interest rates will continue climbing, but who also want to take advantage of this year’s higher rate environment to generate income immediately. USFR currently has a distribution yield of 1.3%.

Saudi MSCI Upgrade Coming

Behind USFR, a completely different type of product takes the mantle as the second-fastest-growing ETF, the iShares MSCI Saudi Arabia ETF (KSA). Assets for this ETF stood at just $14.1 million at the start of the year, but quickly ballooned to $192 million thanks to inflows of $163 million.

Expectations that Saudi Arabia will be upgraded to emerging markets status by MSCI in June may have played a large part in this year’s inflows. If it comes to fruition, MSCI’s upgrade may spur billions of dollars to flow into Saudi Arabia equities as funds tied to MSCI emerging markets benchmarks allocate money to the country.

Saudi Arabia, under the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has pushed aggressively to modernize its economy and reduce its dependence on oil.

Multifactor ETF Catches On

Every now and then a product comes out that takes off from the get-go. The IQ Chaikin U.S. Large Cap ETF (CLRG) is one of those. Launched in December of last year, the fund has already accumulated $323 million in assets, easily making it one of the fastest-growing ETFs on the market.

The fund holds an equal-weighted basket of 300 large-cap U.S. equities, which are chosen based on a multifactor model. The “Chaikin Power Gauge” uses 20 factors based on value, growth, technicals and sentiment to select stocks and attempt to outperform.

Rushing Into Pot

Another overnight success to make the fastest-growing ETFs list is the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (MJ).

After completely overhauling its investment strategy from Latin American real estate to marijuana, MJ’s assets surged. About $414 million flowed into the ETF this year, which, after accounting for losses in the share price, leaves current AUM at $363 million.

MJ is the first U.S.-listed ETF targeting marijuana companies, an area that clearly has a lot of hype and growth potential surrounding it.

Excluding State-Owned Enterprises

The WisdomTree Emerging Markets ex-State-Owned Enterprises Fund (XSOE) is one of those ETFs that catches on thanks to strong performance and a compelling theme. The ETF surged nearly 50% last year, catching the eye of investors. At the start of 2018, XSOE only had $15.9 million in assets. Today it has $122 million thanks to inflows of $110 million.

For a full list of this year’s fastest-growing ETFs, see the table below:



Ticker Fund Name AUM At Start Of Year YTD Inflows % of AUM
USFR WisdomTree Bloomberg Floating Rate Treasury Fund 1,251,980 63,000,000 5032%
KSA iShares MSCI Saudi Arabia ETF 14,105,575 163,000,000 1156%
FLKR Franklin FTSE South Korea ETF 2,615,000 24,000,000 918%
KEMQ KraneShares Emerging Markets Consumer Technology Index ETF 2,545,086 23,000,000 904%
FLBR Franklin FTSE Brazil ETF 4,986,000 39,000,000 782%
XSOE WisdomTree Emerging Markets ex-State-Owned Enterprises Fund 15,924,450 110,000,000 691%
CLRG IQ Chaikin U.S. Large Cap ETF 46,564,525 277,000,000 595%
MJ ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF 71,412,000 414,000,000 580%
FLJP Franklin FTSE Japan ETF 15,870,000 85,000,000 536%
DTEC ALPS Disruptive Technologies ETF 2,496,070 13,000,000 521%
SPMO PowerShares S&P 500 Momentum Portfolio 5,126,284 27,000,000 527%
MEXX Direxion Daily MSCI Mexico Bull 3X Shares 3,094,371 16,000,000 517%
HDAW Xtrackers MSCI All World ex U.S. High Dividend Yield Equity ETF 3,962,126 20,000,000 505%
LFEQ VanEck Vectors NDR CMG Long/Flat Allocation ETF 5,246,083 24,000,000 457%
OBOR KraneShares MSCI One Belt One Road Index ETF 6,375,722 29,000,000 455%
DWCR Arrow DWA Country Rotation ETF 3,007,000 12,000,000 399%
EFAS Global X MSCI SuperDividend EAFE ETF 1,799,600 7,000,000 389%
HDEF Xtrackers MSCI EAFE High Dividend Yield Equity ETF 4,934,625 19,000,000 385%
WCHN WisdomTree ICBCCS S&P China 500 Fund 3,090,714 12,000,000 385%
JPST JPMorgan Ultra-Short Income ETF 110,088,000 421,000,000 382%


Data measures year-to-date period through April 30, 2018


Sumit Roy can be reached at [email protected]

Sumit Roy

Sumit Roy is the senior ETF analyst for, where he's worked for 12 years. Before joining the company, Roy was the managing editor and commodities analyst for Hard Assets Investor. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he enjoys climbing the city’s steep hills, playing pickleball and snowboarding.