Mutual fund assets bounced back from a 13.3% decline in March, climbing 8.1% to some $14.5 trillion, according to Cerulli Associates’ latest U.S. monthly product trends report, released Monday.
Net outflows continued in April as funds hemorrhaged $29.3 billion; active mutual funds lost $25.6 billion and passive ones $3.7 billion. U.S. equities had net negative flows regardless of management style.
Taxable bond funds experienced positive net flows of $14.2 billion, a welcome change from their $221.1 billion outflow in March.
ETFs assets stood at $4 trillion in April on the strength of robust inflows of $45 billion and market performance. The taxable bond ETF asset class attracted $22 billion — “a notable sum given that the [U.S. Federal Reserve] had not yet commenced ETF buying,” Cerulli said in a statement.
Sector equity and commodities ETFs also had strong flows, but ETF investors continued to unload their international equity holdings.
The report said investors withdrew upward of $100 billion from fixed-income mutual funds and ETFs during both the last two weeks of March. But quick intervention by the Fed appeared to ease investors’ fears, and the fixed income broad asset class moved back into positive net flows during the weeks ending April 15, 22 and 29.
This correlated with investment-grade fixed-income prices, represented by the Bloomberg Barclays Aggregate Bond Index.
The product trends report also focused on asset managers’ growing interest in the interval fund vehicle.
A wide variety of asset managers are looking to the interval fund vehicle for its ability to invest in both liquid and illiquid holdings across asset classes while providing some relief from continued fee pressure, according to Cerulli.