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ETF assets continued year-on-year growth in Q3 despite summer market volatility

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Exchange traded fund (ETF) assets grew by USD144 billion, or 7.4 per cent, in the year ending 30 September, 2015 – largely driven by retail channels, according to quarterly data released by Broadridge Financial Solutions.

During the same period, long-term mutual fund assets from third party distributors declined by 2 per cent, or USD156 billion. 

"ETF assets continued year-on-year growth through the third-quarter, despite the worst stock market drop since 2008, with advisors accounting for the lion's share of investment," says Frank Polefrone, senior vice president of Broadridge's Access Data product suite. "This trend demonstrates the increased use of passive products. RIAs, which hold a higher percentage of passively managed funds, were the only retail channel with an increase of long-term fund assets over the last year."

Retail channels continued to generate the majority of ETF asset growth, which now represent 63 per cent of all ETF assets. Registered investment advisors (RIAs) led all retail channels over the past year ending 30 September, 2015, adding USD46 billion in ETF assets, followed by wirehouses with USD45 billion and independent broker dealers (IBDs) with USD41 billion.  The only retail channel with increased assets for long-term mutual funds over this period was the RIA channel with an increase of USD29 billion.   

Retail channels increased assets across several ETF global product categories, as defined by Morningstar, including fixed income, 23 percent, allocation funds, 22 per cent, equity, 11 per cent, and alternative, 5 per cent. The two ETF categories that saw a decline in assets held by the retail channels were commodities, 18 percent, and convertibles ETFs, 9 per cent. In contrast, all global product categories for long-term funds showed a decrease in assets over this same period.  

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