2021 ETF Inflows Hit $900B

The U.S. ETF industry closed a record year with a record month.

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Reviewed by: Dan Mika
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Edited by: Dan Mika

U.S.-listed ETFs took a net inflow of just under $99.4 billion in December, shattering the previous one-month record of $91.2 billion set in November 2020 and capping off a record-breaking year for the industry as it breached the $900 billion inflow mark for 2021.

That figure is well above the $507.4 billion generated in 2020, and nearly double the $476.1 billion that flowed into the industry in 2017.

According to ETF.com data provider FactSet, the U.S. ETF industry ended 2021 with $7.21 trillion in assets under management. The December figures are inclusive of the mid-December rebalances of the Nasdaq-100 and major indexes from S&P Dow Jones and CRSP that underlie popular broad-market ETFs issued by Vanguard, BlackRock and Invesco.

Those index rebalances caused nearly $38 billion in inflows on Dec. 16 alone, most of which were later withdrawn once the funds were realigned with the indexes they tracked.

 

Net Flows ($M)2020 Net Flows ($M)2021 Net Flows ($M)Change ($M)Change (%)
U.S. Equity165,377.22461,921.12296,543.90179.31%
International Equity72,407.92210,700.74138,292.82190.99%
U.S. Fixed Income186,387.38175,287.83-11,099.55-5.96%
International Fixed Income25,515.5834,402.368,886.7834.83%
Commodities40,016.74-4,207.33-44,224.07-110.51%
Currency562.291,760.531,198.24213.10%
Leveraged394.295,414.205,019.911273.15%
Inverse13,510.845,571.92-7,938.92-58.76%
Asset Allocation2,911.886,023.953,112.07106.87%
Alternatives359.553,140.462,780.91773.44%
Total507,443.68900,015.77392,572.0977.36%

 

While U.S. equities easily led among the asset classes, almost every asset class saw at least a doubling in their ETF asset size. The only ETF classes with net outflows were more U.S. fixed income, commodities and leveraged funds, suggesting that those somewhat bearish strategies lost their sheen.

Broad Market Ends Dominant Year

With the S&P 500 gaining nearly 28% in the year and notching a near record of 70 all-time high closes, it’s no wonder broad equity ETFs ended December squarely on top of the inflows list.

The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) utterly dominated inflows for the month, with just shy of $20.9 billion in new assets flowing into the oldest ETF in the U.S. Far behind were the Invesco QQQ Trust (QQQ) and the Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (VTI), with $6 billion and just short of $4.5 billion, respectively.

On the fixed income side, the iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT) added $2.1 billion in new assets as bond investors reacted to the Federal Reserve pivoting toward a tighter monetary policy in 2022 to wrangle inflation down. The iShares iBoxx USD High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (HYG) added just shy of $3.3 billion in assets.

The ProShares UltraPro QQQ (TQQQ) also added $1.8 billion in new assets during the month, making it the only leveraged fund to appear in the top 10.

Factors, Inflation Hedges Sell Off

Three of BlackRock’s largest factor-driven index funds suffered deep outflows during the month, likely due to the relative appeal of broader-market ETFs. The iShares MSCI USA Quality Factor ETF (QUAL) saw just over $3 billion in outflows on the month, while the iShares MSCI USA Momentum Factor ETF (MTUM) and the iShares MSCI USA Min Vol Factor ETF (USMV) lost $1.9 billion and $1.4 billion, respectively.

The Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VOO) suffered a rare outflow of $1.8 billion in the month, which is likely attributable to year-end profit-taking.

Three common inflation-protection ETFs also suffered outflows, despite the Consumer Price Index hitting an annualized 6.8% in November after months of prolonged inflation. The inflation-adjusted Treasury-holding Quadratic Interest Rate Volatility & Inflation Hedge ETF (IVOL) lost $913.2 million on the month, while the Schwab U.S. TIPS ETF (SCHP) lost $718.3 million. The SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) decreased by $967.8 million, extending its yearlong slide.

However, the iShares TIPS Bond ETF (TIP) gained more than $1.1 billion in the period, suggesting that some investors aren’t completely ready to move assets out of some of the safest securities on the market.

2021’s Biggest Winners & Losers

Vanguard once again dominated among ETFs with the 10 largest net inflows on the year, holding six places on the list. VOO led, with $46.6 billion in new assets, while VTI took in just over $44 billion. SPY was a distant third, at $35.2 billion in net new assets.

The only fixed income entrants among the top 10 were the Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF (BND) and the Vanguard Short-Term ETF (BSV), with $18.7 billion and $13.4 billion in new assets, respectively.

On the bottom end of the flows list, the iShares iBoxx USD Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF (LQD) saw the largest outflows, with $14.2 billion pulled by investors, followed by GLD, at just shy of $10.8 billion.

For a full list of this month's top inflows and outflows, see the tables below: 

 

Top Gainers (December 2021)

TickerNameIssuerNet Flows ($,mm)AUM ($M)% of AUMYTD 2021 Net Flows($,M)
SPYSPDR S&P 500 ETF TrustState Street Global Advisors20,868.61455,030.934.59%35,209.53
QQQInvesco QQQ TrustInvesco6,020.48217,207.592.77%21,606.98
VTIVanguard Total Stock Market ETFVanguard4,486.34299,986.781.50%44,087.72
VEAVanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETFVanguard3,358.89110,084.013.05%15,328.37
TLTiShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETFBlackrock3,315.5319,560.6816.95%2,091.11
IVViShares Core S&P 500 ETFBlackrock2,676.32335,954.480.80%27,980.22
VWOVanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETFVanguard2,322.1880,068.582.90%11,308.39
HYGiShares iBoxx USD High Yield Corporate Bond ETFBlackrock2,297.9320,965.6610.96%-4,779.70
TQQQProShares UltraPro QQQProShares1,859.5720,848.898.92%2,715.30
IJRiShares Core S&P Small-Cap ETFBlackrock1,736.0875,841.042.29%5,386.19

 

Top Gainers (Year-to-Date)

TickerNameIssuerNet Flows ($,mm)AUM ($M)% of AUMDecember 2021 Net Flows($,M)
VOOVanguard S&P 500 ETFVanguard46,559.92281,038.2616.57%-1,800.40
VTIVanguard Total Stock Market ETFVanguard44,087.72299,986.7814.70%4,486.34
SPYSPDR S&P 500 ETF TrustState Street Global Advisors35,209.53455,030.937.74%20,868.61
IVViShares Core S&P 500 ETFBlackrock27,980.22335,954.488.33%2,676.32
QQQInvesco QQQ TrustInvesco21,606.98217,207.599.95%6,020.48
BNDVanguard Total Bond Market ETFVanguard18,678.1283,806.4522.29%1,276.94
VEAVanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETFVanguard15,328.37110,084.0113.92%3,358.89
VTVVanguard Value ETFVanguard15,223.4992,710.7816.42%440.32
IEFAiShares Core MSCI EAFE ETFBlackrock13,773.91104,557.2713.17%1,614.77
BSVVanguard Short-Term Bond ETFVanguard13,410.9642,001.5831.93%-16.37

 

Biggest Losers (December 2021)

TickerNameIssuerNet Flows ($,mm)AUM ($M)% of AUMYTD 2021 Net Flows($,M)
QUALiShares MSCI USA Quality Factor ETFBlackrock-3,037.9425,554.92-11.89%-1,038.90
MTUMiShares MSCI USA Momentum Factor ETFBlackrock-1,936.9714,900.63-13.00%-106.64
VOOVanguard S&P 500 ETFVanguard-1,800.40281,038.26-0.64%46,559.92
USMViShares MSCI USA Min Vol Factor ETFBlackrock-1,407.9130,519.89-4.61%-7,907.72
VLUEiShares MSCI USA Value Factor ETFBlackrock-1,064.5016,150.07-6.59%3,987.33
GLDSPDR Gold TrustState Street Global Advisors-967.7756,265.34-1.72%-10,776.62
IVOLQuadratic Interest Rate Volatility and Inflation Hedge ETFCICC-913.222,474.63-36.90%1,689.62
FXLFirst Trust Technology AlphaDEX FundFirst Trust-838.702,009.39-41.74%-1,059.28
LDEMiShares ESG MSCI EM Leaders ETFBlackrock-737.5574.53-989.65%-732.42
SCHPSchwab U.S. TIPS ETFCharles Schwab-718.3221,114.74-3.40%6,876.24

 

Biggest Losers (Year-to-Date)

TickerNameIssuerNet Flows ($,mm)AUM ($M)% of AUMDecember 2021 Net Flows($,M)
LQDiShares iBoxx USD Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETFBlackrock-14,209.2438,802.29-36.62%1,350.62
GLDSPDR Gold TrustState Street Global Advisors-10,776.6256,265.34-19.15%-967.77
USMViShares MSCI USA Min Vol Factor ETFBlackrock-7,907.7230,519.89-25.91%-1,407.91
HYGiShares iBoxx USD High Yield Corporate Bond ETFBlackrock-4,779.7020,965.66-22.80%2,297.93
SHViShares Short Treasury Bond ETFBlackrock-4,760.0913,057.64-36.45%-20.98
EFAViShares MSCI EAFE Min Vol Factor ETFBlackrock-2,874.528,187.60-35.11%-15.42
USOUnited States Oil Fund LPUS Commodity Funds-2,853.332,415.34-118.13%-283.61
JNKSPDR Bloomberg High Yield Bond ETFState Street Global Advisors-2,625.179,884.11-26.56%801.58
EWYiShares MSCI South Korea ETFBlackrock-2,274.164,586.83-49.58%-192.05
IWFiShares Russell 1000 Growth ETFBlackrock-2,087.6279,684.13-2.62%1,067.31

 

Asset Classes (December 2021)

 Net Flows ($, mm)AUM ($, mm)% of AUM
U.S. Equity58,068.534,393,360.921.32%
International Equity17,770.961,295,840.031.37%
U.S. Fixed Income18,933.601,115,866.081.70%
International Fixed Income3,336.88151,706.402.20%
Commodities-2,320.84135,116.93-1.72%
Currency146.293,311.064.42%
Leveraged3,218.1277,086.294.17%
Inverse-622.9211,374.22-5.48%
Asset Allocation851.6620,888.764.08%
Alternatives-10.956,908.75-0.16%
Total:99,371.337,211,459.451.38%

 

Asset Classes (Year-to-Date)

 Net Flows ($, mm)AUM ($, mm)% of AUM
U.S. Equity461,921.124,393,360.9210.51%
International Equity210,700.741,295,840.0316.26%
U.S. Fixed Income175,287.831,115,866.0815.71%
International Fixed Income34,402.36151,706.4022.68%
Commodities-4,207.33135,116.93-3.11%
Currency1,760.533,311.0653.17%
Leveraged5,414.2077,086.297.02%
Inverse5,571.9211,374.2248.99%
Asset Allocation6,023.9520,888.7628.84%
Alternatives3,140.466,908.7545.46%
Total:900,015.777,211,459.4512.48%

 

December 2021 ETF Issuer League Table

IssuerNet Flows ($,M)AUM ($,M)% of AUMYTD 2021 Net Flows($,M)
Blackrock29,292.032,474,779.271.18%208,799.23
Vanguard25,531.842,084,417.921.22%325,713.99
State Street Global Advisors26,486.531,108,645.112.39%93,285.23
Invesco6,096.67409,543.941.49%54,021.00
Charles Schwab1,772.52271,843.280.65%39,661.50
First Trust1,545.83149,590.871.03%24,840.90
JPMorgan Chase1,745.7472,080.982.42%23,043.70
ProShares1,448.3270,951.562.04%12,120.47
VanEck-405.6961,701.10-0.66%8,321.71
WisdomTree534.8048,064.661.11%4,931.91
Mirae Asset Global Investments Co., Ltd.1,436.8542,308.593.40%21,014.72
Dimensional Holdings1,319.5736,705.923.59%5,134.42
Fidelity565.6634,551.151.64%5,141.19
Direxion1,121.2230,351.643.69%1,747.46
ARK-1,235.6930,245.67-4.09%8,765.48
Goldman Sachs227.7727,383.940.83%1,698.20
PIMCO-50.2826,978.17-0.19%1,108.76
DWS465.7124,140.411.93%2,316.96
Northern Trust187.5820,217.470.93%3,662.80
CICC-1,100.3712,166.37-9.04%10,955.29
Pacer Advisors423.4410,145.324.17%3,095.94
Franklin Templeton185.119,919.901.87%833.41
American Century Investments640.959,853.716.50%5,087.62
Nuveen Securities231.128,608.862.68%5,548.02
SS&C-172.468,539.55-2.02%88.05
Exchange Traded Concepts94.898,075.011.18%2,573.19
Victory Capital33.517,273.340.46%1,471.20
Abrdn Plc-90.346,561.07-1.38%789.67
ETFMG-114.586,138.57-1.87%1,150.41
Innovator65.265,945.951.10%1,447.63
John Hancock100.955,474.961.84%-395.75
Principal-356.414,964.96-7.18%466.00
 112.464,807.122.34%314.75
New York Life21.604,654.950.46%449.47
Janus Henderson-97.924,431.83-2.21%470.76
Amplify Investments-45.214,400.32-1.03%1,627.98
The Hartford6.704,218.990.16%355.98
US Commodity Funds-427.003,735.26-11.43%-3,174.07
BMO73.043,560.192.05%783.70
Barclays Capital Inc.29.233,342.220.87%1,709.42
US Global Investors-142.923,311.78-4.32%631.54
Toroso Investments204.843,057.716.70%1,324.53
AdvisorShares57.112,357.942.42%1,956.23
Prudential-2.152,146.77-0.10%801.11
Aptus Capital Advisors167.011,924.818.68%843.93
Columbia Management Investment Advisers, LLC68.141,764.373.86%531.66
Defiance ETFs17.051,710.671.00%470.13
The Motley Fool4.581,687.000.27%88.40
Strategy Shares145.201,559.059.31%1,299.26
O’Shares Investments6.371,515.410.42%-52.88
Vident-11.271,478.31-0.76%-51.52
Virtus Investment Partners9.641,415.920.68%446.42
GraniteShares-0.771,407.03-0.05%50.00
UBS0.001,390.800.00%-40.25
Nationwide119.061,323.708.99%792.62
Roundhill Investments157.141,302.1512.07%1,140.72
BNY Mellon60.281,228.074.91%573.45
Davis Advisers-6.251,198.30-0.52%99.28
Cambria26.721,173.842.28%318.21
Main Management12.381,168.961.06%320.02
Inspire75.731,132.096.69%348.43
Alpha Architect45.561,117.144.08%374.98
Simplify Asset Management Inc.98.241,054.569.32%852.33
Horizon Kinetics LLC-49.25864.35-5.70%809.31
Transamerica Funds0.94827.060.11%-46.20
Howard Capital Management58.14770.407.55%328.65
Distillate Capital79.59617.4212.89%307.43
T. Rowe Price Group, Inc.31.46608.515.17%324.03
Merk-8.65580.57-1.49%163.41
Timothy Plan11.14556.032.00%69.93
TrimTabs63.52543.9211.68%101.66
Credit Suisse Group AG-1.67539.04-0.31%410.45
Redwood Investment Management13.04535.042.44%74.53
Tortoise3.26518.810.63%7.73
Liquid Strategies25.41485.925.23%156.73
Cavalier161.21460.960.26%135.42
Renaissance Capital-18.88412.56-4.58%-273.11
Day Hagan Asset Management15.68406.003.86%206.53
ClearShares LLC29.53401.117.36%145.61
Regents Park Funds3.50375.310.93%100.42
Little Harbor Advisors22.29371.466.00%291.37
SRN Advisors5.51363.181.52%65.80
Sprott, Inc.9.27348.952.66%24.03
Al Marketing LLC-7.42314.27-2.36%-82.12
Swedish Export Credit-19.58292.20-6.70%-24.44
Teucrium-10.96283.72-3.86%-121.14
Engine No. 1 LLC16.50283.305.82%256.47
WBI-4.58282.80-1.62%-14.29
Core Alternative Capital3.68257.591.43%101.00
Advisors Asset Management25.04207.1212.09%157.84
Syntax Advisors0.07203.130.03%51.59
Intangible Capital-0.01201.21-0.01%4.99
TrueMark Investments-6.04199.39-3.03%114.15
Tuttle Tactical Management, LLC40.23187.0421.51%44.99
Impact Shares1.59186.270.85%141.65
OBP Capital LLC1.01180.330.56%129.24
Wahed Invest LLC4.17180.062.32%80.75
Truist102.29167.8060.96%139.75
Swan Global Investments9.04158.075.72%145.12
Arrow Funds0.00131.600.00%-0.13
Wainwright, Inc.2.85125.032.28%110.97
Gadsden-1.92122.56-1.56%20.08
Kingsview Partners LLC4.88119.904.07%109.18
AGF6.12116.765.24%-10.82
Change Finance5.25115.904.53%69.25
Humankind USA LLC1.46111.761.30%96.01
CornerCap Investment Counsel, Inc.1.03110.130.94%30.69
ProcureAM-5.44108.62-5.01%67.09
EntrepreneurShares, LLC-0.62105.50-0.59%-18.53
Pettee Investors4.25102.174.16%40.79
Exponential ETFs0.0084.040.00%-0.27
Neil Azous Revocable Trust-0.8783.24-1.04%65.41
Emles Advisors LLC-0.4280.66-0.52%28.39
Beyond Investing2.2076.292.89%27.12
Natixis6.9371.739.66%18.15
GeaSphere LLC5.4068.527.87%70.72
Oneascent Holdings LLC8.4760.5513.98%58.90
Absolute Investment Advisers LLC0.0055.520.00%12.62
Toews Corp.0.1255.340.21%8.13
Guinness Atkinson Asset Management-1.5653.96-2.89%13.39
Valkyrie Funds LLC5.7953.3210.85%68.86
Alger Group Holdings LLC-1.8652.33-3.55%47.97
Alexis Investment Partners LLC1.3451.462.60%30.83
Federated Hermes, Inc.50.0050.2599.50%50.00
Rayliant Investment Research8.1550.1216.25%50.73
Inverdale Capital Management LLC3.6346.747.76%38.99
ETF Series Solutions0.1246.580.25%12.78
2nd Vote Value Investments, Inc4.2546.129.21%35.54
Highland Capital Management7.9346.1117.20%-6.67
Esoterica0.0045.990.00%17.78
Power Corporation of Canada6.7145.7514.68%13.50
Formidable Asset Management0.6343.601.44%42.19
Cohanzick Management19.6442.3546.37%42.08
Premise Capital0.0041.700.00%-14.10
Chadds Ford Investment Management LLC39.9740.7598.07%40.72
Infusive Asset Management0.0040.150.00%6.84
Red Gate Advisers LLC0.0039.830.00%6.38
New Age Alpha Advisors LLC-2.2738.09-5.97%33.67
Ridgeline Research LLC0.8734.882.50%28.20
Pacific Life0.0034.610.00%5.37
Metaurus Advisors0.0334.270.08%14.36
Uncommon Investment Advisors LLC1.0733.383.20%31.04
AlphaMark Advisors0.0026.180.00%-1.41
Knights of Columbus0.9925.013.96%24.12
ASYMmetric ETFs1.7624.227.28%22.46
Water Island Capital Partners LP10.3822.5945.93%12.55
VectorShares LLC-0.1019.81-0.51%19.82
Mairs & Power, Inc.0.0018.620.00%18.55
EquBot6.4417.7036.36%11.26
The Leuthold Group LLC0.0017.380.00%2.96
Changebridge Capital LLC0.0016.510.00%10.96
Future Fund Advisors-0.4716.10-2.95%17.00
GAMCO Investors, Inc.0.2915.471.90%8.28
Reflection Asset Management, LLC4.5114.1531.87%10.88
Point Bridge Capital0.0013.750.00%0.97
MCCM Group LLC-2.0212.62-15.97%26.56
Zacks Investment Management7.0512.2757.47%11.60
Counterpoint Mutual Funds LLC0.0010.140.00%-2.41
Alternative Access Funds LLC0.0010.010.00%0.00
Applied Finance Group0.009.970.00%8.03
Cultivar Capital, Inc.8.809.5192.53%8.80
Cabot ETF Partners LLC-11.869.31-127.45%19.85
Whitford Asset Management-1.108.37-13.20%4.74
Jacob Asset Management0.206.972.83%7.67
GCI Investors, Inc.5.325.8391.28%5.32
RBS Securities3.325.6558.83%3.32
Retireful LLC0.625.6411.01%3.78
Global Beta Advisors0.015.220.14%-2.97
Volt Equity LLC-0.775.10-15.15%-0.77
Spear Advisors LLC0.004.910.00%4.62
Lifegoal Investments LLC0.734.6815.58%3.46
Banhazl0.224.145.35%1.80
Lyrical Partners0.003.340.00%2.57
Democracy Investment Management LLC0.003.25-0.02%2.61
Wilshire Phoenix Funds LLC0.001.770.00%0.00
Dalton Capital1.251.3095.98%1.25
WealthTrust Asset Management LLC0.651.3050.00%0.65
First Pacific Advisors LP0.001.280.00%0.00
Grizzle Investment Management LLC0.750.7599.07%0.75
Inherent Wealth Fund LLC0.000.260.00%0.30
Eaton Vance Corp.0.000.000.00%0.00
Litman Gregory Capital Partners LLC0.000.000.00%20.26

 

Disclaimer: All data as of 6 a.m. Eastern time the date the article is published. Data is believed to be accurate; however, transient market data is often subject to subsequent revision and correction by the exchanges.

Dan Mika is a reporter for etf.com. He has previously covered business for the Ames Tribune and Cedar Rapids Gazette in Iowa, and BizWest Media in Fort Collins, Colorado. Dan holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Truman State University.