In 2016, demand for ETFs ran the gamut from everything from gold to fixed income to emerging market equities to U.S. stocks at some point during the year. ETF issuers faced creations—and sizable redemptions—throughout the year in various funds.
Now, as 2016 nears the end, it’s interesting to see which ETF issuers gained the most, and which ones lost serious ground. The top three providers—iShares, Vanguard and State Street Global Advisors—each saw asset growth and maintained their lead; no surprises here.
Van Eck Leads Asset Growth
Notably, the firm with the most impressive asset growth in 2016 was Van Eck, which saw a 50% jump in assets under management in under 12 months.
The issuer behind 58 ETFs in the market today started the year as the 11th-largest ETF provider in the country, with roughly $18.9 billion in total assets. Today Van Eck ETF assets are nearing $30 billion—up more than $9 billion since Dec. 30, 2015. The asset gains, which reflect net creations and performance, bumped Van Eck up two spots in our ETF League Table, to No. 9.
Leading the firm’s rise were inflows into the VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) totaling $3.5 billion year-to-date. GDX was, in fact, the most popular ETF in 2016 not offered by one of the top three issuers, coming in at No. 23 in the ranking of biggest net creations year-to-date.
The inflows came in hand-in-hand with a massive rally in the fund. GDX is shelling out total returns of nearly 54% so far in 2016, and that’s even after retracing a lot of ground this fall. GDX is Van Eck’s largest ETF today, with $9.5 billion in assets.
Chart courtesy of StockCharts.com
Here are the top ETF issuers ranked by assets, as of Dec. 7, 2016, and some of the trends seen in the space:
|ETF Issuer||AUM ($M)|
|State Street Global Advisors||489,314.88|
The top 22 most popular ETFs in 2016 in inflows were all from one of the top three ETF issuers, which year after year just seem to increase their dominance in the ETF market.
- BlackRock, the firm behind iShares, saw asset gains of $127 billion in 2016, a 15% jump from year-end 2015. The firm is now nearing its first $1 trillion in U.S.-listed ETF assets. Gains this year were led by inflows into the iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (IVV)—which gathered $11.2 billion—and the iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF (AGG), with net inflows of $11 billion. These ETFs were among the most popular funds of the year.
- Vanguard saw asset gains of $112 billion in 2016, a 23% increase from a year ago, led by inflows into funds like the Vanguard S&P 500 Index Fund (VOO), at $10.7 billion; the Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF (VEA), with $8.8 billion; and the Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (VWO), with $6.7 billion.
- SSgA saw asset gains of $68 billion, up 16% from a year earlier. The leaders here are some of the ETF market’s “classics” such as the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY), with $11.3 billion in inflows, and the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD), with $9 billion in net creations. GLD was one of the most popular ETFs in 2016 until the presidential election.
Other notable growth was seen in the following firms:
- Charles Schwab saw a $17.7 billion asset jump, up 44% on the year—the second-largest AUM growth among the top providers. Schwab’s biggest asset creations included $1.9 billion inflows into the Schwab International Equity ETF (SCHF), and $1.3 billion into the Schwab U.S. Broad Market ETF (SCHB). Schwab is today the fifth-largest issuer—up two spots in the ranking this year.
- ALPS saw $3 billion in AUM growth, up 33% on the year. The issuer is now the 12th-largest provider in the ETF market, up one spot from year-end 2015. Inflows were led by the Alerian MLP ETF (AMLP), which saw net creations of about $1.95 billion in 2016.
- PIMCO saw $2 billion in asset growth this year, up 20% from a year ago. Demand for the PIMCO Enhanced Short Maturity Active ETF (MINT), with $1.26 billion in net creations, helped the firm’s asset gains. The PIMCO Total Return Active ETF (BOND), one of PIMCO’s most popular ETFs, lost $300 million in net redemptions this year.
- Invesco PowerShares saw a $7 billion jump in AUM in 2016. That’s a 7% increase from year-ago levels led by inflows of $2.7 billion into the PowerShares Senior Loan Portfolio (BKLN), and $1.8 billion into the PowerShares S&P 500 High Dividend Low Volatility Portfolio (SPHD).
- Guggenheim saw asset growth of about $2 billion this year, amounting to a 7% AUM growth year-on-year led by inflows of $750 million into the Guggenheim S&P 500 Equal Weight ETF (RSP). The asset gains were partially offset by net losses of $540 million in the Guggenheim S&P 500 Pure Growth ETF (RPG).
- ProShares saw AUM growth of about $1 billion in 2016, a 4% jump on the year, but one that was not enough to keep it at the No. 9 spot in the ranking. Today, ProShares is the 10th-largest issuer. Some of its most popular strategies in 2016 were the ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures ETF (UVXY), with inflows of $2.04 billion, and the ProShares S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats ETF (NOBL), with $1.4 billion. The ProShares Short VIX Short-Term Futures ETF (SVXY) and the ProShares Ultra S&P 500 (SSO) lost $540 million and $490 million, respectively.
On the flip side, some issuers that lost ground:
- WisdomTree bled a net of $14 billion to net redemptions this year—equating to a 27% AUM loss in 2016. The drop pushed the company down two spots in the ranking to the No. 7 issuer by assets. Among its biggest redemptions were the WisdomTree Europe Hedged Equity Fund (HEDJ), with net losses of $8.1 billion—the least popular ETF in 2016—and WisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity Fund (DXJ), with losses of $5.8 billion.
- First Trust bled a net of $3 billion in 2016, losing about 7.5% of its total AUM this year. The firm had a mixed year in terms of asset flows, but net losers outweighed net gainers. Among the biggest redemptions were the First Trust Health Care AlphaDEX Fund (FXH) and the First Trust Consumer Staples AlphaDex Fund (FXG), each bleeding about $2.2 billion so far in 2016. The First Trust Dorsey Wright Focus 5 ETF (FV), the First Trust NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index Fund (FBT) and the First Trust Consumer Discretionary AlphaDex Fund (FXD) each lost about $1.8 billion. But First Trust also had strong inflows into some other products such as the First Trust Value Line Dividend Index Fund (FVD), with inflows of $1.3 billion, and the First Trust Utilities AlphaDex Fund (FXU), with $1.2 billion.
- · Deutsche Bank has lost a net of $7 billion so far in 2016, about 5% of its AUM versus a year ago. The redemptions pushed the company down one spot in our issuer raking to No. 11. The Deutsche X-trackers MSCI Europe Hedged Equity ETF (DBEU) led losses, with redemptions of about $1.3 billion; the Deutsche Bank FI Enhanced Global High Yield ETN (FIEG) bled $376 million.
For a complete ranking of all 75 ETF issuers in the market today, check out our latest ETF League Table.
Contact Cinthia Murphy at [email protected]