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Active and Smart Beta ETFs Set Asset Records in February

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Assets invested in active exchange-traded funds and products listed globally reached a record high of $47.5 billion at the end of February, according to ETFGI, a research and consultancy firm.

ETFGI also reported that net inflows into smart beta equity ETFs/ETPs in February pushed assets under management to $559.8 billion.

Both new figures passed records set in January: active products, $46 billion, and smart beta funds, $534 billion.

The global ETF/ETP industry last month set a record as well: $3.8 trillion, up from $3.7 trillion in January.

“The U.S. equity market performed strongly in February, with the S&P 500 up 3.97% and the [Dow Jones industrial average] was up 5.17%,” ETFGI’s co-founder and managing partner Deborah Fuhr said in a statement.

“International equity markets continued to perform well in February with the S&P Developed Ex-U.S. [Broad Market Index] up 1.42%, while the S&P Emerging BMI was up 3.46%.”

Fuhr noted that investors would be watching significant upcoming political and economic events in Europe in the next two months: the first round of the French election and the beginning of the U.K.’s Brexit negotiations.

In addition, “officials from the EU and the IMF are once again locked in negotiations over the Greek bailout,” she said. 

Active Funds

At the end of February, the global active ETF industry had 317 funds, with 412 listings from 60 providers on 16 exchanges in 12 countries, according to ETFGI.

Sixty-eight percent of the assets in active ETFs/ETPs were in the 172 active products domiciled and listed in the U.S. Europe had 14% of the assets in 107 products.

Seventy-two percent of the assets were in the 105 active fixed income products, and 18% were in 155 active equity products. 

ETFGI reported that active ETFs/ETPs gathered net inflows of $1.9 billion. Year to date, net inflows amount to $3.3 billion. 

First Trust had the largest net inflows in February, $431 million, followed by Lyxor AM with $297 million and Pimco with $262 million.

Smart Beta Funds

At the end of February, 1,212 smart beta equity ETFs/ETPs, with 2,059 listings from 151 providers were listed on 38 exchanges in 32 countries.

The U.S. accounted for by far the largest share of assets with $499 billion, followed by Europe with $39 billion, Canada with $13 billion and Asia/Pacific (ex-Japan) with $5 billion.

In February, smart beta equity products had net inflows of $8.8 billion, a record, while year-to-date net inflows totaled $19.5 billion.

iShares gathered the largest net inflows in February with $2.5 billion, followed by Vanguard with $2.3 billion and Charles Schwab Investment Management with $788 million.

ETF/ETP products tracking S&P Dow Jones smart beta indexes topped net inflows in February with $2.3 billion, followed by CRSP with $2 billion and NYSE with $859 million.

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