January 20, 2012

Long-Term Mutual Funds See Worst Outflows in Three Years: Update

December caps worst period since crisis began, Morningstar says

Morningstar reported Friday that domestic mutual fund asset flows fared poorly through December 2011. Long-term mutual funds had a second consecutive month of net redemptions with outflows of $9.8 billion in December.

The Chicago-based research firm said long-term funds have now experienced outflows in five of the last seven months to mark the worst stretch since the late 2008-early 2009 financial crisis. Including funds that merged or liquidated during the year, long-term funds collected inflows of just $67.1 billion in 2011.

Additional findings include:

  • U.S.-stock funds continued to be the primary driver of outflows, as they shed $17.7 billion in December and about $84.7 billion for the year. 2011 was the sixth consecutive year of U.S.-stock outflows and the worst year for the asset class since $121.2 billion fled in 2008.
  • Although December saw international-stock funds suffer their worst monthly outflows since March 2009 with redemptions of $6.5 billion, outflows for the asset class were roughly flat for the year, leaving them about $85.2 billion ahead of U.S.-stock funds in 2011.
  • Municipal-bond fund flows steadily improved during 2011, with the trend turning positive after outflows peaked at $13.3 billion in December 2010. The asset class finished strong with inflows of $4.8 billion in December, its strongest month since August 2010.
  • Across all asset classes, passively managed long-term funds had inflows of $76.4 billion in 2011, just short of the $74.7 billion collected in 2010. The bulk of these inflows went into international-stock and taxable-bond funds. Meanwhile, actively managed funds shed approximately $9.4 billion in 2011.

This article has been updated following a correction from Morningstar. See the original article here.

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