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ETFs Saw Growth in November: Cerulli

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ETFs finally saw inflows on the positive side in November, although it wasn’t exactly a number to boast about.

According to the December 2018 issue of The Cerulli Edge—U.S. Monthly Product Trends Edition, mutual fund assets had growth of 0.6% in November — with ETF products experiencing the second largest net flow of the year at $47 billion.

Actively and passively managed mutual funds, the report says, did see asset growth, but actively managed funds just barely scraped by with assets rising just 0.3% to just under $11.2 trillion; passively managed funds, on the other hand, rose 2.4% to $6.9 trillion. Both management styles’ assets are still below pre-October highs.

Mutual fund assets stood at $14.5 trillion with one month left in the year, with year-to-date total assets rising 4.9%.

Eroding asset growth, says the report, were net negative flows of $49.5 billion — although November brought “a rebound of sorts,” with total assets rising approximately 2.9%. That was after an October in which ETF assets fell approximately 6.2%.

All mutual fund asset classes suffered net negative flows in November, Cerulli reports. “On an absolute basis, net outflows from commodities funds ($629.3 million) were the least significant, while taxable bond funds ($19.0 billion) were the most significant,” the report says, while “[t]he majority of taxable bond outflows ($10.2 billion) came from active intermediate-term bond products.”

With just one month remaining in the year, the ETF asset classes seeing the biggest asset increases were municipal bond (13.4%), U.S. equity (9.8%) and taxable bond (9.7%). Net flows, or organic growth, has pushed asset growth for each of these asset classes.

U.S. equity topped all asset classes, seeing 2018 YTD net flows of $119.9 billion; that’s followed by taxable bonds, with $76.7 billion. Muni bond ETF net flows trailed, totaling just $4.7 billion; they made up 15.9% of year-end 2017 assets ($29.7 billion).

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