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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

A 2019 Startup Moves Into Pole Position

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

After leading the small fund firm pack last year, a 2019 startup led in January, too.

Peter S. Kraus
Aperture Investors
Chairman, CEO
This article draws from Morningstar Direct data on January 2020 open-end mutual fund and ETF flows, excluding money-market funds and funds of funds. More specifically, this article focuses on the 505 firms (down seven from December) with less than $1 billion each in fund AUM. 247 of those firms gained net inflows in January, up from 237 in December.

Aperture brought in an estimated $215 million in January inflows, more than any other sub-$1-billion-AUM fund firm and up from negligible December inflows (and compared with $375 million in net inflows for all of 2019). Other big January inflows winners included: Rational Funds, $149 million (up from $30 million); Toroso, $116 million (up from $34 million); Defiance, $68 million (up from $30 million); and Redwood, $65 million (up from $1 million in net outflows).

Proportionately, setting aside one January newcomer (Absolute Investment Advisers), it was Standpoint Asset Management and Alpha Fiduciary that led the smallest fund firm pack with estimated net January inflows roughly equivalent to their month-end AUM. (Both Alpha and Standpoint launched in December.) Other big January inflows winners included: Toroso, 79.7 percent (down from 87.2 percent); Volshares, 46.5 percent (down from 50.1 percent); and Crow Point, 37.5 percent (up from 0.6 percent in net outflows).

On the flip side, January was a rough month for Equinox, which suffered an estimated $165 million in net outflows, more than any other sub-$1-billion-AUM fund firm and up from $143 million in December. Other big January outflows sufferers included: Highland, $132 million (down from $30 million in net inflows); Hodges, $122 million (up from $22 million); 13D, $59 million (up from $2 million); and LS, $55 million (down from $62 million).

Equinox also led the smallest fund firm outflows pack proportionately, with estimated net January outflows equivalent to 221.8 percent of its AUM (i.e. its January outflows were more than two times bigger than the AUM it had left after at the end of January), up from 30.3 percent in December. Other big January outflows sufferers included: Syntax, 123.1 percent (up from flat flows); Jaguar, 57 percent (up from 0.3 percent); Miller/Howard, 35.8 percent (up from 9.6 percent); and LS, 27.9 percent (up from 24.8 percent).

As a group, the 505 fund firms with less than $1 billion each in fund AUM brought in an estimated $633 million in net January inflows, equivalent to about 0.7 percent of their combined AUM and accounting for 0.76 percent of net industry inflows. That's up from $87 million in net December outflows for the smallest fund firms.

Across the entire industry, the 767 fund firms tracked by the M* team brought in a combined $83.274 billion in net January inflows, equivalent to 0.4 percent of industry AUM and up from $67.673 billion in December. Passive funds brought in an estimated $65.959 billion in net inflows in January (down from $72.573 billion in December), while active funds brought in $17.315 billion in net inflows (up from $5.009 billion in net outflows. 

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