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June saw above average inflows into European ETFs: Lipper Alpha Insight

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The European ETF industry enjoyed inflows over the course of June 2023, writes Detlef Glow, head of Lipper EMEA research. These inflows occurred in a somewhat unstable but positive market environment in which some asset classes showed positive results, he says. 

Meanwhile, others performed negatively over the course of the month. The market sentiment was still driven by hopes that central banks, especially the US Federal Reserve, may have reached the last phase of their fight against the high and further increasing inflation rates and may, therefore, start to keep interest rates at least stable quite soon, Glow says. 

“Some investors already expect that there might be room for decreasing interest rates later this year. Nevertheless, there are still some concerns about geopolitical tensions, and the normalisation of the disrupted delivery chains, as well as a still possible recession in the U.S. and other major economies around the globe. These fears are raised by inverted yield curves which are seen as an early indicator for a possible recession.”

The performance of the underlying markets led in conjunction with the estimated net inflows to increasing assets under management (from EUR1,369.0 billion as of May 31, 2023, to EUR1,407.7 billion at the end of June). At a closer look, the increase in assets under management of EUR38.6 billion for June was driven by the performance of the underlying markets (+EUR27.2 billion), while the estimated net inflows contributed (+EUR11.5 billion) to the growth in assets under management.

As for the overall structure of the European ETF industry, Glow writes that it was not surprising equity funds (EUR1,014.0 billion) held the majority of assets, followed by bond funds (EUR337.1 billion), commodities products (EUR31.3 billion), money market products (EUR16.2 billion), alternative UCITS products (EUR5.6 billion), and mixed-assets funds (EUR3.6 billion).

Fund flows by asset type

The European ETF industry enjoyed estimated net inflows (+EUR11.5 billion), Glow writes, commenting that these flows were way above the rolling 12-month average (EUR7.9 billion).

The inflows in the European ETF industry for June were driven by equity ETFs (+EUR6.3 billion), followed by bond ETFs (+EUR5.4 billion), money market ETFs (+EUR0.5 billion), and mixed assets ETFs (+EUR0.1 billion). On the other side of the table, alternative UCITS ETFs (-EUR0.1 billion) and commodities ETFs (-EUR0.6 billion) faced outflows for June 2023.

Assets under management by Lipper Global Classifications

In order to examine the European ETF markets in further detail, a review of the Lipper global classifications will help to unveil more insights on the structure and the concentration of assets within the European ETF industry, Glow writes. At the end of June 2023, the European ETF market was split into 164 different peer groups. The highest assets under management at the end of June were held by funds classified as Equity US (EUR305.2 billion), followed by Equity Global (EUR214.7 billion), Equity Europe (EUR71.2 billion), Equity Emerging Markets Global (EUR67.2 billion), and Equity Eurozone (EUR51.0 billion). These five peer groups accounted for 50.39 per cent of the overall assets under management in the European ETF segment, while the 10-top classifications by assets under management accounted for 62.45 per cent.

Overall, 17 of the 164 peer groups each accounted for more than 1 per cent of assets under management. In total, these 17 peer groups accounted for EUR1,011.7 billion, or 71.87 per cent, of the overall assets under management. In addition, it was noteworthy that the rankings of the largest peer groups saw some movement in single positions after the market turmoil caused by the COVID-19 crisis and the following recovery. As the positions of the peer groups had been quite stable in the past, this indicates that European investors use ETFs to trade according to their market views. 

Glow writes that even as some of these positions might be core holdings, once investors get into risk-off mode they also reduce their exposure to core asset classes. Nevertheless, these numbers showed assets under management by Lipper global classifications continued to be highly concentrated in the European ETF industry.

Fund flows by Lipper Global Classifications

The net inflows of the 10 best-selling Lipper classifications accounted for EUR13.7 billion. In line with the overall sales trend for June, equity peer groups (+EUR8.8 billion) gathered the majority of flows by asset type on the table of the 10 best-selling peer groups by estimated net inflows. Given the overall fund flow trend in the European ETF industry, it was not surprising that Equity Global (+EUR4.5 billion) was once again the best-selling Lipper global classification for June. It was followed by Equity US (+EUR2.8 billion) and Bond EUR Corporates (+EUR1.4 billion).

Glow writes that these numbers showed the European ETF segment is also highly concentrated with regard to fund flows by sector. :Generally speaking, one would expect the flows into ETFs to be concentrated since investors often use ETFs to implement their market views and short-term asset allocation decisions. These products are made and, therefore, are easy to use for these purposes.”

Equity Sector Financials (-EUR1.1 billion) was the Lipper Global Classification with the highest outflows for the month. The category was bettered by Equity Europe (-EUR0.6 billion) and Equity Eurozone (-EUR0.4 billion).

Assets under management by promoters

A closer look at assets under management by promoters in the European ETF industry also showed high concentration, with only 24 of the 50 ETF promoters in Europe holding assets at or above EUR1.0 billion. The largest ETF promoter in Europe—iShares (EUR647.1 billion)—accounted for 45.97 per cent of the overall assets under management, far ahead of the number-two promoter—Amundi ETF (EUR186.1 billion)—and the number-three promoter—Xtrackers (EUR141.5 billion). 

The 10-top promoters accounted for 93.53 per cent of the overall assets under management in the European ETF industry., Glow writes. This meant, in turn, the other 40 fund promoters registering at least one ETF for sale in Europe accounted for only 6.47 per cent of the overall assets under management.

Fund flows by promoters

Since the European ETF market is highly concentrated with regard to the assets under management by promoter, it was not surprising that six of the 10 largest promoters by assets under management were among the 10-top selling ETF promoters for June, Glow says. iShares was the best-selling ETF promoter in Europe for June (+EUR6.3 billion), ahead of Vanguard (+EUR1.8 billion) and Xtrackers (+EUR1.4 billion).

The flows of the 10-top promoters accounted for estimated net inflows of EUR12.7 billion. As for the overall flow trend in June, it was clear that some of the 50 promoters (18) faced net outflows (-EUR1.6 billion in total) over the course of the month.

 Assets under management by funds

There were 3,542 instruments (primary funds and convenience share classes) listed as ETFs in the Lipper database at the end of June. Regarding the overall market pattern, it was not surprising assets under management at the ETF level were also highly concentrated, Glow writes. Only 324 of the 3,542 instruments held assets above EUR1.0 billion each. These products accounted for EUR946.9 bn, or 67.27 per cent, of the overall assets in the European ETF industry. The 10 largest ETFs in Europe accounted for EUR222.5 billion, or 15.81 per cent, of the overall assets under management. 

ETF flows by funds

A total of 1,247 of the 3,542 instruments analysed in this report showed net inflows of more than EUR10,000 each for June, accounting for inflows of EUR34.1 billion. This meant the other 2,295 instruments faced no flows or net outflows for the month. Glow adds that when looking at this statistic, one needs to bear in mind that some of these instruments are convenience share classes that do not report assets under management. This means Lipper can’t calculate fund flows for these ETFs. Upon closer inspection, only 85 of the 1,247 ETFs posting net inflows enjoyed inflows of more than EUR100 million during June—for a total of EUR19.9 billion. The best-selling ETF for June was iShares Core EUR Corp Bond UCITS ETF EUR DC, which enjoyed estimated net inflows of EUR1.3 billion. It was followed by iShares Core MSCI World UCITS ETF USD (Acc) (+EUR1.0 billion) and Xtrackers S&P 500 Equal Weight UCITS ETF 1C (+EUR0.8 billion).

The flow pattern at the fund level indicated there was a lot of turnover and rotation during June, but it also showed the concentration of the European ETF industry even better than the statistics at the promoter or classification levels, Glow says.

Given its size and the overall trend for net sales at the promoter level, it was not surprising that six of the 10 best-selling funds for June were promoted by iShares. These iShares ETFs accounted for total estimated net inflows of EUR4.4 billion.

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