by Detlef Glow.
The promoters of ETFs in Europe enjoyed net inflows for February. These inflows led, in combination with a positive performance of the underlying markets, to increased assets under management in the European ETF industry. In more detail, the assets under management in the European ETF industry increased from €675.1 bn as of January 31, 2019, to €707.3 bn at the end of February. The increase of €32.2 bn for February was driven by the performance of the underlying markets (+€18.1 bn), while net sales contributed inflows of €14.1 bn to assets under management in the European ETF segment.
With regard to the overall number of products, it was not surprising equity funds (€494.2 bn) held the majority of the assets, followed by bond funds (€182.5 bn), commodity products (€19.1 bn), “other” funds (€5.2 bn), money market funds (€4.3 bn), mixed-asset funds (€1.6 bn), and alternative UCITS products (€0.6 bn).
Graph 1: Market Share, Assets Under Management in the European ETF Segment by Asset Type, February 28, 2019
Fund Flows by Asset Type
The level of estimated net inflows into ETFs continued to be above average for January. In more detail, the net inflows in the European ETF industry for February (+€14.1 bn) were above the monthly rolling 12-month average (+€3.7 bn). The inflows into ETFs were a sign that investors had returned to the markets, as stock markets globally further recovered over the course of February. That said, it was not surprising equity ETFs were the asset type with the highest net inflows (+€7.4 bn), followed by bond ETFs (+€6.0 bn), mixed-asset ETFs (+€0.5 bn), commodity ETFs (+€0.2 bn), and ’other’ ETFs (+€0.007 bn). Conversely, alternative UCITS ETFs (-€0.01 bn) faced the highest outflows, bettered by money market ETFs (-€0.01 bn).
This flow pattern drove the overall net flows to +€22.0 bn for 2019.
Graph 2: Estimated Net Sales, February 2019 (Euro Millions)
Assets Under Management by Lipper Global Classifications
With regard to the Lipper global classifications, the European ETF market was split into 162 different peer groups. The highest assets under management at the end of February were held by funds classified as Equity US (€127.6 bn), followed by Equity Global (€69.9 bn), Equity Eurozone (€50.8 bn), Equity Emerging Markets Global (€39.1 bn), and Equity Europe (€37.2 bn). These five peer groups accounted for 45.90% of the overall assets under management in the European ETF segment, while the ten-top classifications by assets under management accounted for 59.10%. Overall, 18 of the 162 peer groups each accounted for more than 1% of assets under management. In total, these 18 peer groups accounted for €502.3 bn, or 71.02%, of the overall assets under management. In addition, it was noteworthy that the rankings of the largest peer groups were quite stable, indicating 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 investor portfolios. These numbers showed assets under management in the European ETF industry continued to be highly concentrated.
Graph 3: Ten Top Lipper Global Classifications by Assets Under Management, February 28, 2019 (Euro Millions)
The peer groups on the other side of the table showed some funds in the European ETF market are quite low in assets and risk being closed in the near future. They are obviously lacking investor interest and might, therefore, not be profitable for their 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, February 28, 2019 (Euro Millions)
Fund Flows by Lipper Global Classifications
With regard to the overall sales for February, it was not surprising equity funds (+€9.3 bn) dominated the table of the ten best-selling peer groups by net flows, while the peer group count was equally split between bond and equity funds. Following the flow trend with the leading position of equities, the best-selling Lipper global classification for February was Equity Global (+€5.3 bn), followed by Bond EUR Corporates (+€1.6 bn) and Equity US (+€1.5 bn).
The net inflows of the ten best-selling Lipper classifications equalled 102.03% of the overall net inflows. These numbers showed 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, February 2019 (Euro Millions)
On the other side of the table, the ten peer groups with the highest net outflows for February accounted for €5.1 bn of outflows. Equity Sector Financials (-€1.2 bn) faced the highest net outflows, bettered somewhat by Equity Europe (-€1.2 bn) and Equity Germany (-€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 19 of the 51 ETF promoters in Europe held assets at or above €1.0 bn each. The largest ETF promoter in Europe—iShares (€324.9 bn)—accounted for 45.94% of the overall assets under management, far ahead of the number-two promoter—Xtrackers (€77.1 bn)—and the number-three promoter—Lyxor ETF (€64.9 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, February 28, 2019 (Euro Millions)
The ten-top promoters accounted for 93.17% of the overall assets under management in the European ETF industry. This meant, in turn, the other 41 fund promoters registering at least one ETF for sale in Europe accounted for only 6.83% of the overall assets under management.
Fund Flows by Promoters
Since the European ETF market is highly concentrated, it was not surprising that six of the ten largest promoters by assets under management were among the ten-top selling ETF promoters for February. UBS ETF was the best-selling ETF promoter in Europe for February (+€7.6 bn), well ahead of iShares (+€3.5 bn) and Xtrackers (+€2.3 bn).
Graph 7: Ten Best Selling ETF Promoters, February 2019 (Euro Millions)
Since the flows of the ten-top promoters accounted for 114.55% of the overall estimated net flows into ETFs in Europe for February, it was clear that some of the 51 promoters (17) faced net outflows (-€2.2 bn in total) over the course of the month.
Assets Under Management by Funds
There were 2,763 instruments (primary funds and convenience share classes) listed as ETFs in the Lipper database at the end of February. With regard to the overall market pattern, it was not surprising the assets under management at the ETF level were also highly concentrated. Only 159 of the 2,763 instruments held assets above €1.0 bn each. These products accounted for €426.7 bn, or 60.33%, of the overall assets in the European ETF industry. The ten largest ETFs in Europe accounted for €115.2 bn, or 16.29%, 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, February 28, 2019 (Euro Millions)
ETF Flows by Funds
A total of 833 of the 2,763 instruments analyzed in this report showed net inflows of more than €10,000 each for February, accounting for €28.7 bn, or 203.83% of the overall net flows. This meant the other 1,808 instruments faced no flows or net outflows for the month. In more detail, only 61 of the 833 ETFs posting net inflows enjoyed inflows of more than €100 m each during February, for a total of €17.9 bn. The best-selling ETF for February, UBS ETFs plc – MSCI ACWI SF UCITS ETF (h USD) Aa, accounted for net inflows of €1.2 bn, or 8.31%, of the overall net inflows. It was followed by UBS ETFs plc – MSCI ACWI SF UCITS ETF (h CHF) Aa (+€1.1 bn) and UBS ETFs plc – MSCI ACWI SF UCITS ETF (h EUR) Aa (+€1.0 bn).
Graph 9: Ten Best Selling ETFs, February 2019 (Euro Millions)
The flow pattern at the fund level indicated there was a lot of turnover and rotation during February, 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 surprising that only one of the ten best-selling funds for February were promoted by iShares. This accounted for total net inflows of €0.7 bn, or 5.01%, of the net inflows into the European ETF segment.