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BlackRock's mutual funds see record inflows in 2014 -Morningstar

(Adds comment from BlackRock, performance data, paragraphs 5-9)

By Jessica Toonkel

Jan 5 (Reuters) - BlackRock's mutual funds posted record inflows in 2014 of $18.9 billion, according to data provided to Reuters by Morningstar.

The last time the New York-based asset manager posted record inflows was in 2010, according to Chicago-based Morningstar.

The lion's share of new investor money for the year went into its largest bond fund, the $25.2 billion BlackRock Strategic Income Opportunities Fund, which attracted $13.57 billion of inflows last year, according to Morningstar.

BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, also had a record year in flows into its iShares exchange-traded funds, as investors put $102.8 billion into its ETFs.

Investors trying to navigate uncertainty in bond markets are pouring money into BlackRock's unconstrained Strategic Income Opportunities Fund as well as its short-duration fixed income ETFs, said Frank Porcelli, head of the U.S. wealth advisory business at BlackRock.

"The environment is so hard to predict," he said.

The bulk of new money coming into BlackRock's Strategic Income Opportunities Fund has been from advisers, Porcelli said, although recently more defined contribution plans have been adding the fund to their investment lineups.

The fund has ranked in the top quarter percentile of its category for the past one, three and five years, according to Morningstar.

For the past 12 months, 39 percent of BlackRock's equity funds beat their peers, while 75 percent of BlackRock's fixed-income funds outperformed, according to Morningstar.

BlackRock's inflows came as bond manager Pacific Investment Management Co suffered outflows following the sudden resignation of its co-founder Bill Gross in September. Through November, Newport Beach, California-based Pimco saw net outflows of $121.73 billion across its open-end funds since the start of 2014.

Analysts have said BlackRock is well-positioned as clients move their money away from Pimco, which Keefe, Bruyette & Woods described in an Oct. 8 report as "the Bill Gross effect." (Reporting By Jessica Toonkel; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and David Gregorio)