[UNLOCKED] Fund Flow Survey | Year-End Active Shakedown

Takeaway: All active categories except muni bonds saw outflows in the 5 days ending Dec 30th while investors favored passive products and money funds.

Editor's Note: This is a complimentary research note which was originally published January 7, 2016 by our Financials team. If you would like more info on how you can access our institutional research please email sales@hedgeye.com.

Investment Company Institute Mutual Fund Data and ETF Money Flow:

Most active products finished 2015 with a dull thud in the 5 days ending December 30th. All categories but tax-free bonds saw outflows during the last week of the year. Domestic equity funds again bled out another $2.9 billion in the final week of the year, ending 2015 with their worst annual outflows on record, losing -$172.2 billion. This compares to the +$144 billion subscription for equity ETFs as the shift from active to passive continued last year. In fixed income, taxable bond funds lost -$6.8 billion in the last week as investors digested the new more active Fed policy. Taxable bonds in aggregate had a rare annual redemption in '15 losing $40 billion last year. Since 2007, only 2013 resulted in an annual redemption in the taxable bond category.

Finally, with markets shuddering, investors seeking safety shored up +$16 billion in money market funds, bringing the 4th quarter money market inflow to +$90.1 billion following the +$54.4 billion in subscriptions during the 3rd quarter. 2015 finished with the first annual money fund inflow since 2008 with an annual tally of +$26 billion in cash being moved to the sidelines. The first annual cash increase this cycle is reminiscent to the cash builds of 1999 and 2006 with investors having overallocated to risk assets and then reversing to safety. Overall there is a $1 trillion opportunity for leading cash managers to collect lost funds that have been allocated to stocks and bonds over the past 7 years.


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In the most recent 5-day period ending December 30th, total equity mutual funds put up net outflows of -$6.0 billion, trailing the year-to-date weekly average outflow of -$1.5 billion and the 2014 average inflow of +$620 million. The outflow was composed of international stock fund withdrawals of -$3.1 billion and domestic stock fund withdrawals of -$2.9 billion. International equity funds have had positive flows in 41 of the last 52 weeks while domestic equity funds have had only 8 weeks of positive flows over the same time period.

 

Fixed income mutual funds put up net outflows of -$4.6 billion, trailing the year-to-date weekly average outflow of -$462 million and the 2014 average inflow of +$926 million. The outflow was composed of tax-free or municipal bond funds contributions of +$2.2 billion and taxable bond funds withdrawals of -$6.8 billion.

 

Equity ETFs had net subscriptions of +$5.5 billion, outpacing the year-to-date weekly average inflow of +$2.8 billion and the 2014 average inflow of +$3.2 billion. Fixed income ETFs had net inflows of +$1.9 billion, outpacing the year-to-date weekly average inflow of +$1.0 billion and the 2014 average inflow of +$1.0 billion.

 

Mutual fund flow data is collected weekly from the Investment Company Institute (ICI) and represents a survey of 95% of the investment management industry's mutual fund assets. Mutual fund data largely reflects the actions of retail investors. Exchange traded fund (ETF) information is extracted from Bloomberg and is matched to the same weekly reporting schedule as the ICI mutual fund data. According to industry leader Blackrock (BLK), U.S. ETF participation is 60% institutional investors and 40% retail investors.



Most Recent 12 Week Flow in Millions by Mutual Fund Product: Chart data is the most recent 12 weeks from the ICI mutual fund survey and includes the weekly average for 2014 and the weekly year-to-date average for 2015:

 

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Cumulative Annual Flow in Millions by Mutual Fund Product: Chart data is the cumulative fund flow from the ICI mutual fund survey for each year starting with 2008.

 

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Most Recent 12 Week Flow within Equity and Fixed Income Exchange Traded Funds: Chart data is the most recent 12 weeks from Bloomberg's ETF database (matched to the Wednesday to Wednesday reporting format of the ICI), the weekly average for 2014, and the weekly year-to-date average for 2015. In the third table are the results of the weekly flows into and out of the major market and sector SPDRs:

 

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Sector and Asset Class Weekly ETF and Year-to-Date Results: In sector SPDR callouts, investors seeking safety contributed +3% or +$171 million to the long treasury TLT ETF.

 

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Cumulative Annual Flow in Millions within Equity and Fixed Income Exchange Traded Funds: Chart data is the cumulative fund flow from Bloomberg's ETF database for each year starting with 2013.

 

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Net Results:

The net of total equity mutual fund and ETF flows against total bond mutual fund and ETF flows totaled a positive +$2.2 billion spread for the week (-$520 million of total equity outflow net of the -$2.7 billion outflow from fixed income; positive numbers imply greater money flow to stocks; negative numbers imply greater money flow to bonds). The 52-week moving average is +$741 million (more positive money flow to equities) with a 52-week high of +$20.5 billion (more positive money flow to equities) and a 52-week low of -$19.0 billion (negative numbers imply more positive money flow to bonds for the week.)

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Exposures:
The weekly data herein is important for the public asset managers with trends in mutual funds and ETFs impacting the companies with the following estimated revenue impact:

 

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