ETF Fixed Income Assets Climb in April

ETF cashflows have climbed despite worries about rising rates in fixed income ETFs. Investors also seem to be pouring money into global ETFs even though overseas markets continue to abound.

Among issuers, there are no major changes year-over-year. In April 2009, the National Stock Exchange reported that the number of ETFs and ETNs on the market was 844, 89% of those being ETFs. In April 2010, the ETF/ETN marketplace has grown to 998 securities, 90% being ETFs.

Issuer YTD Cash Flows 2010 in Millions
Vanguard $12,098
Blackrock $8,173
ProShares $1,595
Powershares $1,588
Van Eck $1,536

To gain some perspective on how that breaks down and to what extent the market actually utilizes those 998 ETFs and ETNs, the chart below displays the number of ETFs and ETNs above $100 million in assets. This serves no purpose other than to show to what extent ETFs are adopted by the marketplace. As you can see, only a relatively small number of ETFs get the majority of investment. This could be for a number of reasons, including index popularity, for example. It seems that the ETF marketplace is increasingly becoming more educated, and the most efficient ETFs are rewarded with usage. That being said, I do believe that there are many inefficient and useless ETFs out there, and in the past, investors have used the more expensive and less efficient of two ETFs that track the same index. Despite those situations, the chart below lends credence to the idea that investors haven’t taken hold of a majority of ETFs.

Where the Money is Going

Compared to this time last year, when investors were pulling billions from large cap ETFs, there are now normal inflows into that category. Cash flows to note are in the fixed income and global ETF categories. Despite potential worries in both categories, assets have been flowing into the ETFs

To put fixed income ETFs in perspective, there are no fixed income ETFs currently listed in the top ten ETFs, which continues to be largely made up of stock funds and the Goliath gold fund, GLD.

As shown above, over the same time period year-to-date, fixed income has not led to cash flows. Although not hugely significant, we can see this by looking at investors’ usage of both fixed income and global ETFs. Global ETFs are also a statement of currency fluctuations and it is something to note that YTD, currency ETFs have negative cash flows, while global ETFs report inflows.

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