by Detlef Glow.
Despite the deteriorating situation with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic in some parts of Europe, March 2021 was another positive month for the European fund industry since the promoters of mutual funds (+€24.1 bn) and ETFs (+€16.6 bn) enjoyed inflows. The overall flow pattern in Europe has further normalized, as investors in Europe continued to be in risk-on mode in March. In more detail, investors bought further into risky assets as long-term funds (€39.9 bn) and money market products (€0.8 bn) enjoyed estimated net inflows.
Equity funds (+€36.5 bn) were by far the best-selling asset type overall for March. The category was followed by mixed-assets funds (+€15.4bn), money market funds (+€0.8 bn), commodities funds (+€0.6 bn), and real estate funds (+€0.5 bn). On the other side of the coin, alternative UCITS funds (-€5.1 bn) faced the highest estimated outflows, bettered by bond funds (-€4.3 bn) and “other” funds (-€3.6 bn).
Graph 1: Estimated Net Flows by Asset and Product Type – March 2021 (in bn EUR)
Source: Refinitiv Lipper
The flow pattern for March drove the estimated overall net inflows to €118.3 bn year to date.
As the current market environment is still somewhat fragile, it was a bit surprising that European investors invested only (+€0.8 bn) in money market products. Actively managed money market funds enjoyed inflows of €0.9 bn, while ETFs investing in money market instruments faced estimated net outflows of €0.1 bn.
In more detail, Money Market USD (+€9.0 bn) was the best seller within the money market segment, followed by Money Market GBP (+€2.4 bn) and Money Market EUR Leveraged (+€0.9 bn). At the other end of the spectrum, Money Market EUR (-€10.1 bn) suffered the highest net outflows overall, bettered by Money Market SEK (-€0.5 bn) and Money Market Global (-€0.3 bn).
This flow pattern revealed that European investors are still somewhat concerned about the current market environment as they didn’t reduce their positions in money market products, which were built over the course of 2020, further. In conjunction with the asset allocation decisions of portfolio managers, these shifts in the money market segment might have also been caused by corporate actions such as cash dividends or cash payments, since money market funds are also used by corporations as replacements for cash accounts.
With regard to the overall sales for March, it was not surprising that Equity Global (+€15.0 bn) once again dominated the table of the 10 best-selling peer groups by estimated net flows. It was followed by Money Market USD (+€9.0 bn), Mixed Asset EUR Flex – Global (+€4.3 bn), Equity Theme Alternative Energy (+€3.2 bn), and Equity Sector Financials (+€3.0 bn).
Graph 2: Ten Best- and Worst-Selling Lipper Global Classifications by Estimated Net Sales, March 2021 (Euro Millions)
Source: Refinitiv Lipper
On the other side of the table, Money Market EUR (-€10.1 bn) faced the highest estimated net outflows for March, bettered by Bond Global Corporates USD (-€5.4 bn) and Unclassified products (-€3.6 bn).
JPMorgan (+€12.1 bn) was the best-selling fund promoter in Europe for March, ahead of BlackRock (+€8.5 bn), Vanguard Group (+€4.4 bn), Morgan Stanley (+€3.4 bn), and UBS (+€3.2 bn). Given the product ranges of the top five promoters and the overall fund flow trends, it was not surprising to see that ETFs played a vital role only for BlackRock and Vanguard Group in terms of the success of the five best-selling fund promoters in Europe. In addition to this, it is noteworthy that the inflows for JPMorgan (+€9.9 bn), BlackRock (+€3.6 bn), and Morgan Stanley (+€3.6 bn) were impacted by inflows into money market products.
Graph 3: Ten Best-Selling Fund Promoters in Europe, March 2021 (Euro Millions)
Source: Refinitiv Lipper
Considering the single-asset classes, UBS (+€2.4 bn) was the best-selling promoter of bond funds, followed by Vanguard Group (+€1.3 bn), BNP Asset Management (+€1.2 bn), BNY Mellon (+€1.0 bn), and HSBC (+€0.9 bn).
Within the equity space, BlackRock (+€7.5 bn) led the table, followed by DWS Group (+€4.9 bn), HSBC (+€2.8 bn), JPMorgan (+€2.7 bn), and Vanguard Group (+€2.0 bn).
Societe Generale (+€1.3 bn) was the leading promoter of mixed-assets funds in Europe, followed by Allianz (+€1.2 bn), Vanguard Group (+€1.1 bn), Union Investment (+€0.8 bn), and BlackRock (+€0.7 bn).
JPMorgan (+€0.5 bn) was the leading promoter of alternative UCITS funds for the month, followed by Pictet (+€0.4 bn), PIMCO (+€0.4 bn), LGT Group (+€0.3 bn), and Nordea (+€0.3 bn).
Single-fund domicile flows (including those to money market products) showed, in general, a positive picture during March. Twenty-two of the 34 markets covered in this report showed estimated net inflows, and 12 showed net outflows. Luxembourg (+€33.9 bn) was the fund domicile with the highest estimated net inflows, followed by Ireland (+€8.3 bn), Germany (+€3.5 bn), Spain (+€2.8 bn), and Sweden (+€1.6 bn). On the other side of the table, France (-€9.7 bn) was the fund domicile with the highest estimated outflows, bettered by Switzerland (-€2.7 bn) and the Netherlands (-€1.4 bn). It is noteworthy that the overall fund flows for Luxembourg (+11.8 bn), France (-€7.5 bn), Ireland (-€2.2 bn), Switzerland (-€1.1 bn), and the Netherlands (-€1.1 bn) were impacted by flows in the money market segment.
Graph 4: Estimated Net Sales by Fund Domiciles, March 2021 (Euro Billions)
Source: Refinitiv Lipper
Within the bond sector, funds domiciled in Switzerland (+€1.7 bn) led the table, followed by Spain (+€0.6 bn), the U.K. (+€0.5 bn), Denmark (+€0.4 bn), and Sweden (+€0.4 bn). Bond funds domiciled in Ireland (-€6.7 bn), Luxembourg (-€0.8 bn), and Liechtenstein (-€0.3 bn) were at the other end of the table.
For equity funds, products domiciled in Luxembourg (+€21.5 bn) led the table, followed by Ireland (+€15.8 bn), Germany (+€2.4 bn), Sweden (+€1.4 bn), and Spain (+€0.7 bn). Meanwhile, Switzerland (-€3.4 bn), the U.K. (-€1.5 bn), and France (-€1.0 bn) were the domiciles with the highest estimated net outflows from equity funds.
Regarding mixed-assets products, Luxembourg (+€4.0 bn) was the domicile with the highest estimated net inflows for March, followed by the U.K. (+€2.7 bn), Ireland (+€1.3 bn), Italy (+€1.2 bn), and Spain (+€1.2 bn). In contrast, Jersey (-€0.1 bn), the Isle of Man (-€0.02 bn), and Lithuania (-€0.001 bn) were the domiciles with the highest estimated net outflows from mixed-assets funds.
Ireland (+€0.5 bn) was the domicile with the highest estimated net inflows into alternative UCITS funds for March, followed by Spain (+€0.1 bn) and the Netherlands (+€0.02 bn). Meanwhile, Luxembourg (-€2.9 bn), France (-€2.1 bn), and Italy (-€0.4 bn) were at the other end of the table.
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The views expressed are the views of the author and not necessarily those of Refinitiv. This material is provided as market commentary and for educational purposes only and does not constitute investment research or advice. Refinitiv cannot be held responsible for any direct or incidental loss resulting from applying any of the information provided in this publication or from any other source mentioned. Please consult with a qualified professional for financial advice.