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Rating:As Long-Term Flows Rebound, Vanguard Keeps the Lead Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Friday, April 27, 2018

As Long-Term Flows Rebound, Vanguard Keeps the Lead

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

Long-term fund flows rebounded last month and a certain low-cost leviathan kept the lead. Yet money market mutual funds had a rough month.

Chicago-based investment research specialist Morningstar recently released its "Morningstar Direct Asset Flows Commentary: United States" report for March 2018. The report was penned by Kevin McDevitt, senior research analyst. (An abridged version of the report is publicly accessible, while the full report with appendices is available to Morningstar Direct users.) This article draws on data from that report.

Vanguard stayed on top of the flows pack in March with $14.777 billion in estimated net inflows, up from $11.605 billion in February. Fidelity jumped to second place with $2.932 billion in estimated net March inflows. Other big winners last month included: Pimco, $2.378 billion; Charles Schwab, 2.371 billion; and DFA, $2.125 billion.

Proportionately, First Trust stayed on top for the second month in a row among the largest fund families, bringing in estimated net March inflows equivalent to 2.84 percent of its AUM, up from 1.55 percent in February. Other relative winners in March included: Schwab, 1.3 percent; Eaton Vance, 1.03 percent; Harris' Oakmark, 0.75 percent; and Pimco, 0.67 percent.

On the flip side, March was another rough month for SSgA, with $11.21 billion in estimated net outflows, more than any other fund firm but down from $25.269 billion in net outflows in February. Other big outflow sufferers in March included: Franklin Templeton, $2.537 billion; Harbor, $1.518 billion; TCW, $1.225 billion; and Principal, $1.119 billion.

Proportionately among big fund firms, Harbor had the roughest March, with estimated net outflows equivalent to 2.3 percent of its AUM, up from 1.68 percent in February. Other big sufferers last month included: SSgA, 1.87 percent; TCW, 1.42 percent; Principal, 0.84 percent; and Wells Fargo, 0.81 percent.

Industrywide, long-term active mutual funds swung back positive to an estimated $1.178 billion in net inflows in March, up from $12.943 billion in net outflows in February. Money market fund inflows reversed yet again, to $54.624 billion in net outflows in March, down from $42.812 billion in net inflows in February. And passive funds brought in an estimated $12.178 billion in net inflows in March, up from $5.253 billion in February.

Within long-term active mutual funds, taxable bond funds led the pack with $9.043 billion in estimated net inflows in March, up from $3.972 billion in February. Other winning categories in March included: international equity funds, $4.355 billion; muni bond funds, $1.326 billion; liquid alts, $1.153 billion; and commodities funds, $563 million.

Meanwhile, long-term active U.S. equity funds suffered estimated net outflows of $10.956 billion in March, down from $17.691 billion in February. Other net outflows suffering categories in March included allocation funds, $3.129 billion, and sector equity funds, $1.178 billion. 

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