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Schwab Continues Gaining ETF Assets


Discount broker Charles Schwab (SCHW) was something of a late entrant to the exchange traded products business, but statistics indicate the firm continues to make its ETF presence felt.

In 2013, ETF assets custodied at Schwab surged 29% to $196 billion compared with industry growth of 26%, according to the firm’s “ETF Investor Snapshot” released Thursday. At the end of the third quarter, ETF assets custodied at Schwab reached $179 billion. [Schwab Sees Significant q3 ETF Asset Growth]

Retail trader helped drive growth at Schwab as that group captured 12% of 2013 inflows, more than the double the 4% they contributed in 2012. The remaining 91% was split between retail investors and registered investment advisors.

Whether it is active traders or advisors, it appears Schwab’s reputation as one of the low-cost leaders in the ETF space is driving firm flows. In October, the company added 16 new ETFs including five from Guggenheim, five from SPDR ETFs and six from Charles Schwab Investment Management, to its Schwab ETF OneSource platform of commission-free ETF offerings.

OneSource now features 121 ETFs on a commission-free basis. In addition to funds from the aforementioned issuers, Schwab ETF OneSource features ETFs from PowerShares, the fourth-largest U.S. ETF sponsor, ETF Securities and U.S. Commodity Funds. [Schwab Adds to OneSource Lineup]

Not surprisingly, the bulk of ETF flows in Schwab account s last year (90%) went into equity funds with retail investors and advisors splitting two-thirds to domestic stocks and one-third to global equities, according to Schwab data. Inflows to bond funds represented just 5% of Schwab ETF inflows last year.

“Flows into Sector ETFs were 7% of flows – down from 20% in the prior year. 2013 also brought a shift in focus. There were large flows out of Real Estate ETFs, reversing the large inflows in 2012. Financials, Health and Technology saw the largest inflows in 2013,” according to the firm.

ETFs available on the OneSource platform include the Schwab U.S. Small-Cap ETF (SCHA) , the Schwab US Dividend Equity ETF (SCHD) , the PowerShares S&P 500 Low Volatility Portfolio (SPLV) and the SPDR Nuveen Barclays Short Term Municipal Bond ETF (SHM) .

ETF Assets and Flows At Schwab

Data, Charts Courtesy: Charles Schwab

Tom Lydon’s clients own shares of SCHA and SCHD.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Mr. Lydon serves as an independent trustee of certain mutual funds and ETFs that are managed by Guggenheim Investments; however, any opinions or forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Mr. Lydon and not those of Guggenheim Funds, Guggenheim Investments, Guggenheim Specialized Products, LLC or any of their affiliates. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.