U.S. ETF assets top $1.3T in December

U.S. exchange-traded fund assets under management grew by 3.1 percent in December, while mutual fund assets under management edged up 0.8 percent, according to a new report.

Cerulli Associates, Boston, published this finding in a January 2013 report, “The Cerulli Edge: U.S. Monthly Product Trends Edition.” The monthly publication covers issues and trends in asset management and distribution.

The report reveals that U.S. ETF assets under management attained $1.33 trillion in December, up 3.1 percent from the $1.29 trillion recorded in November. U.S. mutual fund assets under management surpassed $9.27 trillion, up 0.8 percent from the $9.2 trillion posted in November.

ETFs finished out the year with inflows of $38.1 billion in December and $187 billion total for all of 2012. However, after a full year of positive monthly net flows, mutual fund flows dipped in December by $9.6 billion, but totaled $269 billion for the year.

By asset class, equity ETF flows totaled $37.8 million in December, up from $10.3 million in November of 2012. U.S. stock and sector stock ETFs accounted for most (63.6 percent) of the flows. Inflows into fixed income ETFs and alternative and commodity ETFs in December totaled $602 million and a negative $546 million, respectively.

By contrast, fixed income assets outperformed equities and alternatives in the mutual fund category in December. Flows into fixed income mutual funds totaled $13.1 billion, surpassing flows into alternatives and commodities, which reached $588 million.

Equity mutual funds experienced outflows totaling $22.3 billion in December. This exceeds the outflows of November and October, which totaled $16.8 billion and $8.4 billion, respectively.

By asset class, U.S. stocks account for the largest share of mutual funds, totaling $3.5 trillion or 37.6 percent of mutual funds. This compares to $2.5 trillion (27 percent) for taxable bonds, $1.4 trillion (15.1 percent) for international stocks, 877.4 billion (9.5 percent) for balanced funds, $584 billion (6.3 percent) for municipal bonds, $277.2 billion (3 percent) for sector stocks, $89.8 billion (one percent) for alternatives and $50.2 billion (0.5 percent) for commodities.

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