by Detlef Glow.
The promoters of ETFs in Europe enjoyed net inflows for December. Nevertheless, the assets under management in the European ETF industry decreased as the inflows were not able to offset the negative performance of the underlying markets. In more detail, the assets under management in the European ETF industry decreased from €666.1 bn as of November 30, 2018, to €633.1 bn at the end of December. The decrease of €33.0 bn for December was driven by the performance of the underlying markets (-€35.3 bn), while net sales contributed inflows of €2.3 bn to assets under management in the European ETF segment.
With regard to the overall number of products, it was not surprising that equity funds (€437.5 bn) held the majority of the assets, followed by bond funds (€166.4 bn), commodity products (€18.2 bn), “other” funds (€5.2 bn), money market funds (€4.5 bn), mixed asset funds (€1.0 bn), and alternative UCITS products (€0.4 bn).
Graph 1: Market Share, Assets Under Management in the European ETF Segment by Asset Type, December 30, 2018
Fund Flows by Asset Type
The net inflows in the European ETF industry for December (+€2.3 bn) were below the rolling 12-month average (+€3.5 bn). The inflows into ETFs were quite surprising since investors shied away from mutual funds in December as a result of the ongoing uncertainty in the global markets driven by the new tariff regime in the U.S., and a possible “no-deal” Brexit. With regard to the current interest rate environment, it was surprising that bond ETFs were the asset type with the highest net inflows (+€3.8 bn), followed by money market ETFs (+€0.4 bn). Conversely, equity ETFs (-€1.4 bn) faced the highest outflows, bettered by commodity ETFs (-€0.4 bn), “other” ETFs (-€0.2 bn), alternative UCITS ETFs (-€0.02 bn), and mixed asset ETFs (-€0.01 bn).
This flow pattern drove the overall net flows to +€42.2 bn for 2018.
Graph 2: Estimated Net Sales, December 2018 (Euro Millions)
Assets Under Management by Lipper Global Classifications
With regard to the Lipper global classifications, the European ETF market was split into 159 different peer groups. The highest assets under management at the end of December were held by funds classified as Equity US (€114.3 bn), followed by Equity Global (€57.1 bn), Equity Eurozone (€46.2 bn), Equity Europe (€34.7 bn), and Equity Emerging Markets Global (€32.5 bn). These five peer groups accounted for 45.00% of the overall assets under management in the European ETF segment, while the ten top classifications by assets under management accounted for 58.81%. Overall, 19 of the 159 peer groups each accounted for more than 1% of the assets under management. In total, these 19 peer groups accounted for €453.3 bn, or 71.60%, of the overall assets under management. In addition, it was noteworthy that the rankings of the largest peer groups were quite stable, indicating that European investors use the funds from these peer groups as core holdings and not just as so-called satellites that are bought and sold frequently to implement asset allocation views in investors’ portfolios. These numbers showed that assets under management in the European ETF industry continued to be highly concentrated.
Graph 3: Ten Top Lipper Global Classifications by Assets Under Management, December 31, 2018 (Euro Millions)
The peer groups on the other side of the table showed that some funds in the European ETF market are quite low in assets and risk being closed in the near future. They are obviously lacking in investor interest and might, therefore, not be profitable for the respective fund promoters (Please read our report: “Is there a consolidation ahead in the European ETF industry?” for more details on this topic.)
Graph 4: Ten Smallest Lipper Global Classifications by Assets Under Management, December 31, 2018 (Euro Millions)
Fund Flows by Lipper Global Classifications
With regard to the overall sales for December, it was not surprising bond funds (+€4.2 bn) dominated the table of the ten best-selling peer groups by net flows, as well as by the peer group count—bonds (seven), equities (two), and money markets (one). The best-selling Lipper global classification for December was again Equity Emerging Markets Global (+€2.3 bn), followed by Bond USD Government Short Term (+€0.9 bn), and Bond EMU Government LT (+€0.7 bn).
The net inflows of the ten best-selling Lipper classifications equalled 328.13% of the overall net inflows. These numbers showed that the European ETF segment is also highly concentrated with regard to fund flows by sectors. Generally speaking, one would expect the flows into ETFs to be concentrated since investors often use ETFs to implement their market views and short-term asset allocation decisions. These products are made, and therefore are easy to use, for these purposes.
Graph 5: Ten Best and Worst Selling Lipper Global Classifications by Estimated Net Sales, December 2018 (Euro Millions)
On the other side of the table, the ten peer groups with the highest net outflows for December accounted for €4.9 bn of outflows. Equity US (-€1.4 bn) faced the highest net outflows, bettered by Equity Japan (-€0.7 bn), and Equity Europe (-€0.6 bn).
Assets Under Management by Promoters
A closer look at the assets under management in the European ETF industry by promoters also showed high concentration, since only 20 of the 50 ETF promoters in Europe held assets at or above €1.0 bn each. The largest ETF promoter in Europe—iShares (€293.3 bn)—accounted for 46.32% of the overall assets under management, far ahead of the number-two promoter—Xtrackers (€68.8 bn)—and the number-three promoter—Lyxor ETF (€61.1 bn). (To learn more about the concentration of the European ETF market at the promoter level, please read our report: Spotlight on the concentration at the promoter level in the European ETF industry)
Graph 6: Ten Top ETF Promoters by Assets Under Management, December 31, 2018 (Euro Millions)
The ten top promoters accounted for 93.00% of the overall assets under management in the European ETF industry. This meant, in turn, the other 40 fund promoters registering at least one ETF for sale in Europe accounted for only 7.00% of the overall assets under management.
Fund Flows by Promoters
Since the European ETF market is highly concentrated, it was surprising that only five of the ten largest promoters by assets under management were among the ten top selling ETF promoters for December. iShares was the best-selling ETF promoter in Europe for December (+€3.4 bn), well ahead of Xtrackers (+€0.7 bn), and SPDR (+€0.5 bn).
Graph 7: Ten Best Selling ETF Promoters, December 2018 (Euro Millions)
Since the flows of the ten top promoters accounted for 222.89% of the overall estimated net flows into ETFs in Europe for December, it was clear that some of the 50 promoters (25) faced net outflows (-€2.8 bn in total) over the course of December.
Assets Under Management by Funds
There were 2,709 instruments (primary funds and convenience share classes) listed as ETFs in the Lipper database at the end of December. With regard to the overall market pattern, it was not surprising the assets under management at the ETF level were also highly concentrated. Only 141 of the 2,709 instruments held assets above €1.0 bn each. These products accounted for €368.6 bn, or 58.22%, of the overall assets in the European ETF industry. The ten largest ETFs in Europe accounted for €104.3 bn, or 16.47%, of the overall assets under management. (Please read our study: Is the European ETF industry dominated by only a few funds? to learn more about the concentration at the single-fund level in the European ETF industry.)
Graph 8: Ten Largest ETFs by Assets Under Management, December 31, 2018 (Euro Millions)
ETF Flows by Funds
A total of 744 of the 2,709 instruments analyzed in this report showed net inflows of more than €10,000 each for December, accounting for €18.9 bn, or 837.50%, of the overall net flows. This meant the other 1,965 instruments faced no flows or net outflows for the month. In more detail, only 48 of the 744 ETFs posting net inflows enjoyed inflows of more than €100 m each during December, for a total of €10.6 bn. The best-selling ETF for December, iShares Core MSCI World UCITS ETF GBP Hgd (Dist), accounted for net inflows of €0.9 bn, or 39.95%, of the overall net inflows. It was followed by iShares Core MSCI EM IMI UCITS ETF USD (Acc) (+€0.7 bn), and iShares $ Treasury Bond 1-3yr UCITS ETF USD (Dist) (+€0.5 bn).
Graph 9: Ten Best Selling ETFs, December 2018 (Euro Millions)
The flow pattern at the fund level indicated that there was a lot of turnover and rotation during December, but it also showed the concentration of the European ETF industry even better than the statistics at the promoter or classification level. Given its size, it was not surprising that seven of the ten best-selling funds for December were promoted by iShares. These accounted for total net inflows of €3.5 bn, or 153.52%, of the net inflows into the European ETF segment.