Fixed-Income Mutual Funds and ETFs Attract Significant Net Flows During 2018

U.S. Mutual Fund Assets Start 2019 with Almost 9% Growth

Net flows have contributed to growth, with funds adding $36.7 billion in January 2019 and $29.2 billion in February


March 2019, Boston —The March 2019 issue of The Cerulli Edge - U.S. Monthly Product Trends Edition analyzes mutual fund and exchange-traded fund (ETF) product trends as of month-end February 2019. This issue also includes special coverage on portfolio construction.

Highlights from this research:  

  • While mutual funds have not returned to September 2018 asset levels ($15.4 trillion), assets levels have increased for two consecutive months, rising 8.6% to just less than $14.8 billion as of month-end February 2019. Net flows have been a contributor to growth, with funds adding $36.7 billion in January and $29.2 billion in February. ETF assets fully recovered from the 4Q 2018 downturn, eclipsing $3.72 trillion in assets during February, posting flows of $23.2 billion for the month.
  • As due diligence teams become more institutional in nature and consultants play a growing role in product selection, key accounts and the institutional sales team must collaborate to ensure success at the largest broker/dealers. Advisors expect greater fee compression in the coming years, which in turn is influencing the investment products they plan to use in client portfolios. Asset managers need to ensure that they are not only making the right strategies available to their partners, but that they are also making the appropriate investment vehicles to meet advisors’ needs.
  • According to Cerulli’s 2018 high-net-worth (HNW) survey, wealth preservation (84%), tax minimization (58%), and wealth transfer (53%) are the most important investment objectives among HNW clients. Given shifting tax rates among the wealthiest U.S. households, in combination with a record bull market, the impact of taxes can be profound when managing a portfolio for HNW investors. Positioning tax-effective solutions will be of utmost importance for firms that want to cater to this demographic.

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