Global ETF industry grabs record cash in 2015: BlackRock

Sun Jan 3, 2016 9:38pm EST
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By Trevor Hunnicutt

(Reuters) - Investors poured $347 billion into exchange-traded funds globally during 2015, fund-manager BlackRock Inc (BLK.N: Quote) said on Sunday, setting a new record for the industry.

BlackRock said its own haul of $130 billion in new money also set a record in global flows for its iShares ETF business, surpassing the previous annual record set in 2014, when investors added $103 billion in new money to the funds.

ETFs, generally a basket of stocks, bonds or other assets, grew at a record rate despite markets struggling in 2015 to deliver the broad gains they have posted since rebounding from the financial crisis in 2009. Global ETF assets now total about $3 trillion.

In the United States, inflows of $228 billion last year were not enough to top the record $246 billion brought in during 2014, according to the BlackRock data.

A third-party data provider, ETFGI LLP, said its estimates for the year also showed a similar increase in new assets for global ETFs over 2014 and a decrease in U.S. flows.

It was a year of slim returns.

The largest U.S. ETF, SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY.P: Quote), delivered 1.34 percent in total returns in 2015. The iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF (AGG.P: Quote) , the largest U.S. bond ETF, eked out 0.48 percent, according to Morningstar Inc (MORN.O: Quote).

Investors looked to ETFs tracking stocks in places like Europe and Japan, hoping shares of companies there would be boosted by stimulus from central bankers.   Continued...

A woman walks next to a BlackRock sign pictured in the Manhattan borough of New York, October 11, 2015.  REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz