U.S. Mutual Fund Assets Continue Downward Slide for the Third Straight Month

U.S. Mutual Fund Assets Continue Downward Slide for the Third Straight Month


May 2018, Boston. The May 2018 issue of The Cerulli Edge - U.S. Monthly Product Trends Edition analyzes mutual fund and exchange-traded fund (ETF) product trends as of April 2018. This issue also examines high-net-worth (HNW) investors’ interest in low-cost products and addresses the growing demand for strategic beta products.

Highlights from this research:

  • Mutual fund assets slid downward for the third straight month, dropping 0.2% in April to close with assets totaling just more than $14.5 trillion. While the mutual fund asset slide continued into April, ETFs reversed course during the month, increasing total assets by 1.2%. Propelling assets forward were net flows of $28.9 billion, which equate to 0.8% organic growth.
  • Across all affluent-focused advisory practices, which have a core focus of $2 million or greater, Cerulli finds that almost one-third (29%) of client assets are allocated to passive strategies. HNW-focused registered investment advisors (RIAs) continue to be the largest adopters of ETFs, with 93% of active and passive asset managers citing demand.
  • Advisors reported that strategic beta would grow from 17% of their allocation to ETF products in 2017 to 22% over the next two years. This is significant as ETFs continue to make up a growing part of client portfolios. Though ETF issuers tend to position strategic beta as a diversification tool and alpha generator, the primary reason financial advisors report choosing them is to mitigate risk in client portfolios.

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