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Record ETF Assets Growth In 2020

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Sumit Roy
·15 min read
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It's official: Investors added the largest sum ever to ETFs during 2020. After all was said and done, a whopping $507.4 billion flowed into U.S.-listed ETFs during the year, topping the previous record of $476.1 billion from 2017. Annual inflows for 2020 were also 55% greater than the $326.3 billion registered in 2019. 

Strong performance for asset classes across the board was the fuel that drove investors to plow money into exchange-traded funds at an unprecedented clip. By many measures, investor enthusiasm at the end of 2020 was unlike anything seen in years, and marked a sharp turnaround from the pessimism and despair seen at the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March.

The S&P 500 surged 18.4% on the year, while the Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate Bond Index jumped 7.5%. 

Certain pockets of the market, from software to biotech to alternative energy, easily outperformed the broader benchmarks, delivering eye-popping gains. The Nasdaq-100 Index rallied 48.9% on the year.


Fixed Income Leads For Second Year

Despite the surge in stocks, somehow U.S. fixed income ETFs managed to attract more buying from ETF investors. U.S. fixed income ETFs as a group picked up $186.4 billion of new money during 2020, outpacing the $165.4 billion picked up by U.S. equity ETFs.

It was the second year in a row in which U.S. fixed income ETF flows beat U.S. equity ETFs flows, and reflects investors' growing use of exchange-traded funds for fixed income exposure. 2020 also marked the first time that the Federal Reserve bought corporate bonds, with the central bank initially using ETFs to stabilize the markets during the panic in March.

The Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF (BND), the iShares iBoxx USD Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF (LQD) and the Vanguard Intermediate-Term Corporate Bond ETF (VCIT)  each had inflows of more than $14.7 billion during 2020. 

Vanguard Reigns Supreme 

While U.S. fixed income took the flows crown at the asset class level, it was an equity ETF that topped the flows list for individual ETFs. The Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (VTI) registered inflows of $32.6 billion, pushing its assets under management to more than $200 billion.

The Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VOO)  and the Invesco QQQ Trust (QQQ) followed behind, each with inflows of more than $16.7 billion. 


Meanwhile, the Vanguard Total International Stock ETF (VXUS) and the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) were the most popular international equity ETF and commodity ETF of 2020, respectively, each with inflows of more than $15 billion.

'SPY' Sheds $22 Billion

Though 2020 was an ebullient year, not every ETF attracted inflows. Some high-profile duds included the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY), the iShares MSCI EAFE ETF (EFA)  and the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM), with outflows of $24.6 billion, $11.8 billion and $4.6 billion, respectively. 

Investors also shunned low-vol funds like the iShares MSCI USA Min Vol Factor ETF (USMV) and the Invesco S&P 500 Low Volatility ETF (SPLV), both of which found themselves on the top outflows list for the year.

For a full list of 2020's top inflows and outflows, see the tables below:

 

Top Gainers (December 2020)

Ticker

Name

Issuer

Net Flows ($,mm)

AUM ($M)

% of AUM

YTD 2020 Net Flows($,M)

VTI

Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF

Vanguard

5,424.29

200,920.71

2.70%

32,623.27

IEMG

iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF

Blackrock

3,598.98

68,609.30

5.25%

-563.20

IWM

iShares Russell 2000 ETF

Blackrock

3,296.57

58,757.37

5.61%

2,748.02

ARKK

ARK Innovation ETF

ARK

3,253.47

18,048.41

18.03%

9,492.03

ARKG

ARK Genomic Revolution ETF

ARK

3,192.49

7,885.87

40.48%

5,245.17

BND

Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF

Vanguard

2,437.14

68,065.47

3.58%

17,217.83

VXUS

Vanguard Total International Stock ETF

Vanguard

2,203.37

38,568.24

5.71%

16,002.66

BNDX

Vanguard Total International Bond ETF

Vanguard

1,989.41

37,194.53

5.35%

11,929.66

AGG

iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF

Blackrock

1,908.76

85,132.94

2.24%

12,475.29

TIP

iShares TIPS Bond ETF

Blackrock

1,654.90

26,307.94

6.29%

3,770.89

 

Top Gainers (Year-to-Date)

Ticker

Name

Issuer

Net Flows ($,mm)

AUM ($M)

% of AUM

December 2020 Net Flows($,M)

VTI

Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF

Vanguard

32,623.27

200,920.71

16.24%

5,424.29

VOO

Vanguard S&P 500 ETF

Vanguard

21,431.58

176,967.89

12.11%

-5,135.00

BND

Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF

Vanguard

17,217.83

68,065.47

25.30%

2,437.14

QQQ

Invesco QQQ Trust

Invesco

16,733.95

151,436.31

11.05%

312.92

VXUS

Vanguard Total International Stock ETF

Vanguard

16,002.66

38,568.24

41.49%

2,203.37

GLD

SPDR Gold Trust

State Street

15,129.71

71,026.84

21.30%

-1,385.31

LQD

iShares iBoxx USD Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF

Blackrock

15,020.10

55,074.49

27.27%

-3,177.06

VCIT

Vanguard Intermediate-Term Corporate Bond ETF

Vanguard

14,790.27

42,470.51

34.82%

938.78

AGG

iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF

Blackrock

12,475.29

85,132.94

14.65%

1,908.76

BNDX

Vanguard Total International Bond ETF

Vanguard

11,929.66

37,194.53

32.07%

1,989.41

 

Biggest Losers (December 2020)

Ticker

Name

Issuer

Net Flows ($,mm)

AUM ($M)

% of AUM

YTD 2020 Net Flows($,M)

VOO

Vanguard S&P 500 ETF

Vanguard

-5,135.00

176,967.89

-2.90%

21,431.58

SPY

SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust

State Street

-4,298.34

326,894.62

-1.31%

-24,580.85

IVV

iShares Core S&P 500 ETF

Blackrock

-3,778.41

237,299.61

-1.59%

6,350.44

QUAL

iShares MSCI USA Quality Factor ETF

Blackrock

-3,467.86

21,481.15

-16.14%

2,191.34

LQD

iShares iBoxx USD Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF

Blackrock

-3,177.06

55,074.49

-5.77%

15,020.10

HYG

iShares iBoxx USD High Yield Corporate Bond ETF

Blackrock

-1,845.05

25,719.29

-7.17%

5,794.13

DIA

SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF Trust

State Street

-1,815.97

24,089.56

-7.54%

-109.75

IEF

iShares 7-10 Year Treasury Bond ETF

Blackrock

-1,448.43

14,833.75

-9.76%

-4,466.61

GLD

SPDR Gold Trust

State Street

-1,385.31

71,026.84

-1.95%

15,129.71

BBEU

JPMorgan BetaBuilders Europe ETF

JPMorgan Chase

-1,110.98

3,407.90

-32.60%

-456.78

 

Biggest Losers (Year-to-Date)

Ticker

Name

Issuer

Net Flows ($,mm)

AUM ($M)

% of AUM

December 2020 Net Flows($,M)

SPY

SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust

State Street

-24,580.85

326,894.62

-7.52%

-4,298.34

EFA

iShares MSCI EAFE ETF

Blackrock

-11,839.15

53,053.45

-22.32%

171.84

EEM

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF

Blackrock

-4,624.09

28,254.31

-16.37%

293.03

USMV

iShares MSCI USA Min Vol Factor ETF

Blackrock

-4,495.34

33,111.17

-13.58%

-738.05

IEF

iShares 7-10 Year Treasury Bond ETF

Blackrock

-4,466.61

14,833.75

-30.11%

-1,448.43

IJH

iShares Core S&P Mid-Cap ETF

Blackrock

-4,295.26

53,682.06

-8.00%

86.11

FLOT

iShares Floating Rate Bond ETF

Blackrock

-4,283.26

5,376.60

-79.66%

-162.29

IWF

iShares Russell 1000 Growth ETF

Blackrock

-3,224.78

64,299.95

-5.02%

-287.14

SHV

iShares Short Treasury Bond ETF

Blackrock

-2,942.29

17,832.01

-16.50%

-1,077.43

SPLV

Invesco S&P 500 Low Volatility ETF

Invesco

-2,911.14

8,118.26

-35.86%

-471.73

 

Asset Classes (December 2020)

 

Net Flows ($, mm)

AUM ($, mm)

% of AUM

U.S. Equity

13,462.65

3,085,507.44

0.44%

International Equity

29,955.00

1,062,379.37

2.82%

U.S. Fixed Income

14,412.20

968,811.08

1.49%

International Fixed Income

4,752.31

123,724.66

3.84%

Commodities

-789.86

143,985.38

-0.55%

Currency

57.13

1,918.11

2.98%

Leveraged

-1,151.08

45,314.10

-2.54%

Inverse

39.43

10,880.72

0.36%

Asset Allocation

313.27

13,265.64

2.36%

Alternatives

151.33

5,291.75

2.86%

Total:

61,202.38

5,461,078.25

1.12%

 

Asset Classes (Year-to-Date)

 

Net Flows ($, mm)

AUM ($, mm)

% of AUM

U.S. Equity

165,377.22

3,085,507.44

5.36%

International Equity

72,407.92

1,062,379.37

6.82%

U.S. Fixed Income

186,387.38

968,811.08

19.24%

International Fixed Income

25,515.58

123,724.66

20.62%

Commodities

40,016.74

143,985.38

27.79%

Currency

562.29

1,918.11

29.31%

Leveraged

394.29

45,314.10

0.87%

Inverse

13,510.84

10,880.72

124.17%

Asset Allocation

2,911.88

13,265.64

21.95%

Alternatives

359.55

5,291.75

6.79%

Total:

507,443.68

5,461,078.25

9.29%

 

December 2020 ETF Issuer League Table

Issuer

Net Flows ($,M)

AUM ($,M)

% of AUM

YTD 2020 Net Flows($,M)

Blackrock

11,664.71

2,021,101.37

0.58%

121,293.85

Vanguard

25,181.46

1,504,109.92

1.67%

199,917.58

State Street Global Advisors

-3,530.24

841,150.01

-0.42%

35,083.09

Invesco

4,429.18

294,440.09

1.50%

20,017.43

Charles Schwab

3,070.21

198,390.09

1.55%

15,703.60

First Trust

2,007.23

110,469.37

1.82%

12,867.84

VanEck

2,016.00

53,705.88

3.75%

5,014.42

ProShares

-750.62

46,921.79

-1.60%

14,352.92

JPMorgan Chase

888.00

44,981.63

1.97%

12,090.72

WisdomTree

579.62

38,435.95

1.51%

-1,227.85

ARK

8,455.53

35,121.95

24.07%

20,446.42

PIMCO

319.28

25,872.75

1.23%

3,502.41

Fidelity

704.74

23,606.93

2.99%

4,045.44

Mirae Asset

1,697.52

20,857.71

8.14%

6,599.60

Deutsche Bank

448.65

20,235.17

2.22%

2,740.80

Direxion

-32.64

18,710.10

-0.17%

5,197.46

Goldman Sachs

354.21

17,567.82

2.02%

2,161.88

Northern Trust

-139.08

14,349.03

-0.97%

-1,721.97

Franklin Templeton

83.91

8,739.22

0.96%

2,664.76

SS&C

269.19

7,356.76

3.66%

-1,157.91

Aberdeen Standard Investments

71.97

6,383.15

1.13%

2,057.19

CICC

-145.00

6,180.53

-2.35%

1,985.52

Pacer Advisors

84.38

5,757.13

1.47%

76.73

Victory Capital

-9.68

5,588.99

-0.17%

-8.86

ETFMG

394.58

5,578.19

7.07%

1,054.36

Exchange Traded Concepts

262.47

5,516.29

4.76%

2,092.33

John Hancock

9.04

5,006.53

0.18%

-205.38

US Commodity Funds

-261.25

4,822.58

-5.42%

4,696.49

Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.

-251.54

4,397.39

-5.72%

-194.37

Innovator

116.75

3,994.39

2.92%

1,418.56

Principal

2.91

3,987.19

0.07%

277.25

Janus Henderson

174.76

3,928.48

4.45%

2,402.92

New York Life

160.58

3,864.62

4.16%

365.41

American Century Investments

265.86

3,815.39

6.97%

2,039.49

The Hartford

36.98

3,716.01

1.00%

-327.17

Amplify Investments

370.83

3,129.33

11.85%

1,642.74

US Global Investors

199.99

3,046.57

6.56%

2,302.86

Nuveen Securities

152.69

2,621.00

5.83%

1,271.33

Barclays Capital Inc.

2.27

2,321.38

0.10%

-414.62

BMO

0.00

1,982.76

0.00%

647.62

Toroso Investments

107.40

1,536.79

6.99%

901.56

O’Shares Investments

98.73

1,469.35

6.72%

476.37

Prudential

105.14

1,344.54

7.82%

451.83

Vident

-12.11

1,343.33

-0.90%

-296.35

GraniteShares

-13.77

1,329.17

-1.04%

435.22

Columbia Management Investment Advisers, LLC

217.71

1,269.50

17.15%

530.54

Davis Advisers

9.43

1,079.91

0.87%

165.09

AdvisorShares

111.48

1,053.64

10.58%

382.85

Defiance ETFs

165.57

1,000.49

16.55%

667.21

Aptus Capital Advisors

44.48

980.41

4.54%

487.63

UBS

-18.89

900.28

-2.10%

-2,138.06

Cambria

-24.14

840.74

-2.87%

207.04

Virtus Investment Partners

58.38

833.94

7.00%

-3.56

Renaissance Capital

268.62

782.32

34.34%

608.36

Transamerica Funds

-4.48

752.69

-0.60%

-63.63

Inspire

1.36

687.77

0.20%

154.31

Credit Suisse Group AG

35.12

670.67

5.24%

-1,497.01

EMPIRICAL FINANCE LLC

10.62

655.06

1.62%

133.70

Main Management

6.87

649.06

1.06%

6.94

The Motley Fool

32.36

550.30

5.88%

132.79

Nationwide

19.87

497.61

3.99%

80.31

BNY Mellon

65.14

496.81

13.11%

213.72

Merk

14.01

441.00

3.18%

198.71

Redwood Investment Management

133.23

407.26

32.71%

255.21

Tortoise

15.89

397.35

4.00%

-1.49

Timothy Plan

6.88

388.33

1.77%

97.51

Sprott, Inc.

7.38

386.61

1.91%

60.45

Al Marketing LLC

-2.68

376.34

-0.71%

-53.35

TrimTabs

161.13

364.09

44.26%

197.15

WBI

-12.89

319.41

-4.04%

-137.43

Teucrium

-25.61

313.08

-8.18%

90.17

Liquid Strategies

4.05

290.29

1.40%

156.09

Howard Capital Management

5.51

283.46

1.94%

99.14

Roundhill Investments

49.09

283.17

17.34%

193.06

SRN Advisors

23.34

278.45

8.38%

118.69

ClearShares LLC

-5.01

273.68

-1.83%

62.78

Regents Park Funds

14.56

255.51

5.70%

142.90

Swedish Export Credit

12.75

233.83

5.45%

-20.31

Strategy Shares

75.28

220.12

34.20%

183.39

Distillate Capital

5.38

207.94

2.59%

116.71

EntrepreneurShares, LLC

2.53

191.69

1.32%

27.02

Intangible Capital

0.03

174.06

0.02%

1.34

T. Rowe Price Group, Inc.

24.79

149.99

16.53%

76.98

Tuttle Tactical Management, LLC

17.23

148.72

11.58%

128.78

AGF

-18.33

145.67

-12.58%

53.68

Core Alternative Capital

0.00

138.28

0.00%

25.70

Donald L. Hagan LLC

4.33

137.12

3.16%

113.92

OBP Capital LLC

10.23

126.93

8.06%

53.95

Arrow Funds

0.00

105.91

0.00%

-12.50

Simplify Asset Management Inc.

6.56

99.46

6.59%

91.11

Gadsden

4.95

98.19

5.04%

34.42

Cboe Vest Financial LLC

4.75

86.27

5.50%

30.56

Exponential ETFs

0.96

83.77

1.15%

1.31

Wahed Invest LLC

5.81

67.45

8.61%

32.76

Emles Advisors LLC

4.41

66.41

6.64%

48.28

TrueMark Investments

5.88

65.55

8.97%

54.55

Syntax Advisors

1.39

62.29

2.23%

-26.12

CornerCap Investment Counsel, Inc.

4.63

59.64

7.76%

54.05

Pacific Life

0.00

57.07

0.00%

0.00

iM Global Partner

-9.69

55.09

-17.58%

17.58

Metaurus Advisors

0.46

53.02

0.86%

0.46

Highland Capital Management

-3.18

52.88

-6.01%

-213.70

Natixis

-9.29

49.81

-18.64%

-4.38

Premise Capital

-2.25

49.35

-4.55%

6.07

Toews Corp.

-1.26

48.85

-2.58%

42.35

ProcureAM

8.30

43.12

19.24%

27.51

Advisors Asset Management

1.16

42.87

2.71%

-0.21

Pettee Investors

0.83

40.40

2.06%

26.24

Absolute Investment Advisers LLC

1.90

37.41

5.08%

33.65

Beyond Investing

1.71

36.02

4.74%

18.23

Impact Shares

0.74

35.39

2.08%

18.15

Change Finance

2.85

32.79

8.70%

14.81

AlphaMark Advisors

0.00

23.68

0.00%

0.00

ETF Series Solutions

0.58

23.42

2.49%

8.72

Truist

4.55

20.48

22.24%

17.93

Esoterica

2.51

20.18

12.42%

12.90

Neil Azous Revocable Trust

0.67

19.23

3.48%

-1.78

Little Harbor Advisors

-5.49

17.73

-30.97%

19.22

The Leuthold Group LLC

0.00

12.68

0.00%

11.42

Counterpoint Mutual Funds LLC

0.00

12.62

0.00%

12.90

Alternative Access Funds LLC

0.00

10.00

0.00%

9.98

Point Bridge Capital

0.00

9.59

0.00%

-4.78

Guinness Atkinson Asset Management

2.49

8.01

31.06%

3.53

Global Beta Advisors

0.01

7.24

0.17%

-0.29

Water Island Capital Partners LP

0.00

6.43

0.00%

3.75

EquBot

0.00

6.18

0.00%

1.56

Inverdale Capital Management LLC

1.97

3.31

59.64%

1.97

Grace Partners of Dupage LP

0.00

3.11

0.00%

0.00

Whitford Asset Management

0.00

2.75

0.00%

-1.07

Reflection Asset Management, LLC

0.00

2.29

-0.02%

2.02

 

Disclaimer: All data as of 6 a.m. Eastern time the date the article is published. Data is believed to be accurate; however, transient market data is often subject to subsequent revision and correction by the exchanges.

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