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Thursday, February 28, 2019

The Quiet Active Titan Is Back On Top

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

A certain quiet mutual fund giant is back on top on the active side of the business, while the passive side is dominated by two other familiar titans.

Timothy D. Armour
Capital Group
Chairman, CEO, Equity PM
This article draws from Morningstar Direct data on open-end mutual fund and ETF flows (excluding money market funds and funds of funds) from January 2019.

As fund flows rebounded last month, Capital Group's American Funds led the active side of the industry, with estimated net January inflows of $4.651 billion, up from $8.86 billion in net outflows in December (which put it at the bottom of the active pack) and more than ten times the inflows that the December winner gathered that month. Other big active inflow winners in January (all of which were bouncing back from nine- or ten-figure December outflows) included: DFA, $4.258 billion (up from $3.802 billion in net outflows); Vanguard, $2.044 billion (up from $6.1 billion in net outflows); TIAA's Nuveen, $1.352 billion (up from $510 million in net outflows); and DoubleLine, $1.164 billion (up from $1.568 billion in net outflows).

Meanwhile, on the passive side, Vanguard retook the lead last month, with estimated January passive inflows of $17.645 billion (up slightly from $17.52 billion). Other big passive inflow winners in January included: Fidelity, $9.792 billion (up from $7.802 billion); Schwab, $3.426 billion (down from $3.548 billion); ProShares/ProFunds, $1.658 billion (up from $687 million in net outflows); and Nuveen, $977 million (up from $273 million).

On the flip side, January was a rough month for Fidelity's active funds, which suffered estimated net outflows of $2.225 billion (down from $5.194 billion). Yet for Fidelity and the other big active outflows sufferers in January, it was still not as bad as December. Other big active outflows sufferers in January (all of which saw their outflows decline from December) included: Franklin Templeton, $1.861 billion (down from $4.637 billion); T. Rowe Price, $1.573 billion (down from $5.473 billion); John Hancock, $1.408 billion (down from $2.308 billion); and OppenheimerFunds, $1.17 billion (down from $3.878 billion).

Among passive players, SSgA suffered an estimated $8.6 billion in net January outflows, more than any other passive fund firm and up from $168 million in December. Other big passive outflows sufferers in January included: Rafferty's Direxion, $577 million (down from $270 million in net inflows); Axa Equitable, $518 million (up from $343 million); Alps, $353 million (down from $239 million in net inflows); and Wells Fargo, $336 million (up from $23 million).

Industrywide, 726 active fund families (up from 721 in December) brought in a combined $11.725 billion in net inflows in January, up from $142.26 billion in net December outflows. 153 passive families (up from 152) brought in a combined $27.216 billion in net January inflows, down from $59 billion in December.

Inflows were less concentrated on both sides of the industry. Of the 726 fund firms with active fund flows in January, 372 (up from from 193 in December) gained net inflows. On the passive side, of 153 firms with passive flows in January, 81 gained net inflows. 

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