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Morningstar reports US mutual fund and ETF asset flows for January 2015


With the exception of US equity funds, all active Morningstar category groups had positive flows for the first month of the year, led by municipal-bond and sector-equity funds. 

Passive funds, with inflows of USD26.1 billion, outpaced active funds, which took in USD470 million in January, and taxable-bond funds led passive offerings with inflows of USD10.9 billion. Morningstar estimates net flow for mutual funds by computing the change in assets not explained by the performance of the fund and net flow for ETFs by computing the change in shares outstanding.

Of the total assets in passive funds, 65% are invested at an expense ratio of 0.10% or lower, while 65% of total active assets are invested at an expense ratio of 0.90% or lower. More than half of active assets are invested in funds with expense ratios between 0.60% and 1.00%.

While active US equity funds have seen outflows for some time, passive US equity funds experienced monthly outflows for the first time since January 2014. SPDR S&P 500, with January redemptions of USD26.2 billion, or 12% of its assets, was responsible for the bulk of the outflows.

Despite providing excess returns above both its benchmark and the intermediate-term bond category average, PIMCO Total Return, which has a Morningstar Analyst Rating™ of Bronze, had outflows of USD12.5 billion in January, bringing total outflows for the last five months to USD90.5 billion. At the firm level, PIMCO has lost USD164.8 billion since January 2014, a 31% decrease in assets. Janus' three-month streak of inflows since Bill Gross joined the firm came to an end with outflows of USD18 million in January.

American Funds had its best month of inflows since May 2009, led by American Funds Global Balanced and American Funds American Balanced, which both have a Silver Analyst Rating.

For the fourth consecutive month, two intermediate-term bond funds with Gold Analyst Ratings, Metropolitan West Total Return Bond and Dodge & Cox Income, were among the active funds with the highest monthly inflows. On the passive side, Vanguard had four of the five funds with the highest inflows in January, while WisdomTree Europe Hedged Equity increased its assets by 50% during the month.

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