Detlef Glow
September 19, 2022

Monday Morning Memo: Review of the European ETF Market, August 2022

by Detlef Glow.

The ETF promoter in Europe enjoyed estimated net inflows for August 2022 after the first negative month for the European ETF industry since March 2020. These inflows occurred in a negative and volatile market environment in which investor sentiment was impacted by high inflation rates, increasing interest rates, geopolitical tensions, and disrupted delivery chains caused by the still ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in Europe and other parts of the world. The performance of the underlying markets led to decreasing assets under management (from €1,318.3 bn as of July 31, 2022, to €1,284.0 bn at the end of August). In more detail, the decrease of €34.3 bn for August was driven by the performance of the underlying markets (-€35.6 bn), while estimated net inflows contributed €1.3 bn to the assets under management.

As for the overall structure of the European ETF industry, it was not surprising equity funds (€919.9 bn) held the majority of assets, followed by bond funds (€315.3 bn), commodities products (€34.2 bn), alternative UCITS products (€6.8 bn), money market funds (€3.9 bn), mixed-assets funds (€3.8 bn), and “other” funds (€0.1 bn).

Graph 1: Market Share, Assets Under Management in the European ETF Segment by Asset Type, August 31, 2022

Source: Refinitiv Lipper

 

Fund Flows by Asset Type

The European ETF industry enjoyed estimated net inflows (+€1.3 bn). As to be expected, these flows were far below the rolling 12-month average (€8.6 bn).

The inflows in the European ETF industry for August were driven by bond ETFs (+€5.2bn), followed by alternative UCITS ETFs (+€0.4 bn). On the other side of the table, “other” ETFs (-€0.0003 bn), mixed-assets ETFs (-€0.03 bn), money market ETFs (-€0.1 bn), commodities ETFs (-€0.8 bn), and equity ETFs (-€3.4 bn) were facing outflows.

This flow pattern drove the estimated overall net flows to €1.3 bn for the month and €56.0 bn for the year 2022 so far. Given the general market environment with rising interest rates, it was somewhat surprising that bond ETFs enjoyed inflows for the month.

Graph 2: Estimated Net Sales by Asset Type, August 2022 (Euro Millions)

Review of the European ETF industry, August 2022

Source: Refinitiv Lipper

 

Assets Under Management by Lipper Global Classifications

In order to examine Lipper global classifications in further detail, the European ETF market was split into 168 different peer groups. The highest assets under management at the end of August were held by funds classified as Equity U.S. (€283.0 bn), followed by Equity Global (€182.7 bn), Equity Europe (€59.9 bn), Equity Emerging Markets Global (€59.5 bn), and Equity Eurozone (€44.0 bn). These five peer groups accounted for 49.00% of the overall assets under management in the European ETF segment, while the 10-top classifications by assets under management accounted for 60.24%.

Overall, 20 of the 168 peer groups each accounted for more than 1% of assets under management. In total, these 20 peer groups accounted for €945.5 bn, or 73.64%, of the overall assets under management. In addition, it was noteworthy that the rankings of the largest peer groups saw some movement in single positions after the market turmoil caused by the COVID-19 crisis and the following recovery. As the positions of the peer groups had been quite stable in the past, this indicates that European investors use ETFs to trade according to their market views. Even as some of these positions might be core holdings, once investors get into risk-off mode they also reduce their exposure to core asset classes. Nevertheless, 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, August 31, 2022 (Euro Millions)

Source: Refinitiv Lipper

 

The peer groups on the other side of the table showed some funds in the European ETF market are quite low in assets and their constituents 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, August 31, 2022 (Euro Millions)

Source: Refinitiv Lipper

 

Fund Flows by Lipper Global Classifications

The net inflows of the 10 best-selling Lipper classifications accounted for €11.3 bn. As for the overall sales for August, it was not surprising that eight bond peer groups (+€6.8 bn) were on the table of the 10 best-selling peer groups by estimated net inflows. Given the overall fund flows trend in the European ETF industry, it was surprising that Equity Global (+€4.1 bn) was the best-selling Lipper global classification for August. It was followed by Bond USD Government (+€1.5 bn) and Bond Emerging Markets Global HC (+€1.5 bn).

These numbers showed the European ETF segment is also highly concentrated with regard to fund flows by sector. 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, August 2022 (Euro Millions)

Review of the European ETF industry, August 2022

Source: Refinitiv Lipper

 

On the other side of the table, the 10 peer groups with the highest estimated net outflows for August accounted for €9.7 bn in outflows.

With regard to the Lipper Global Classifications with the highest estimated outflows for August 2022 it is somewhat surprising to see that Equity US (-€3.8 bn) was the classification with the highest outflows for the month. These outflows from US equities disrupted the long-term trend toward US equities but should not be seen as sign that the tide will change in the near future. Conversely, the trend that European investors sell European equities is further intact since Equity Eurozone (-€2.0 bn) and Equity Europe (+€0.7 bn) were once again on the list of the 10 Lipper Global Classifications with the highest outflows.

 

Assets Under Management by Promoters

A closer look at assets under management by promoters in the European ETF industry also showed high concentration, with only 12 of the 51 ETF promoters in Europe holding assets at or above €1.0 bn. The largest ETF promoter in Europe—iShares (€586.5 bn)—accounted for 45.68% of the overall assets under management, far ahead of the number-two promoter—Amundi ETF (€174.5 bn)—and the number-three promoter—Xtrackers (€129.4 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, August 31, 2022 (Euro Millions)

Review of the European ETF industry, August 2022

Source: Refinitiv Lipper

 

The 10-top promoters accounted for 93.89% 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 6.11% of the overall assets under management.

 

Fund Flows by Promoters

Since the European ETF market is highly concentrated, it was not surprising that five of the 10 largest promoters by assets under management were among the 10-top selling ETF promoters for August. UBS ETF was the best-selling ETF promoter in Europe for August (+€2.7 bn), ahead of iShares (+€0.9 bn) and Vanguard (+€0.5 bn).

Graph 7: Ten Best-Selling ETF Promoters, August 2022 (Euro Millions)

Review of the European ETF industry, August 2022

Source: Refinitiv Lipper

 

The flows of the 10-top promoters accounted for estimated net inflows of €5.3 bn. As for the overall flow trend in August, it was clear that some of the 51 promoters (18) faced net outflows (-€4.0 bn in total) over the course of the month.

 

Assets Under Management by Funds

There were 3,382 instruments (primary funds and convenience share classes) listed as ETFs in the Lipper database at the end of August. Regarding the overall market pattern, it was not surprising assets under management at the ETF level were also highly concentrated. Only 302 of the 3,382 instruments held assets above €1.0 bn each. These products accounted for €846.9 bn, or 65.96%, of the overall assets in the European ETF industry. The 10 largest ETFs in Europe accounted for €199.5 bn, or 15.54%, 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, August 31, 2022 (Euro Millions)

Source: Refinitiv Lipper

 

ETF Flows by Funds

A total of 1,149 of the 3,382 instruments analyzed in this report showed net inflows of more than €10,000 each for August, accounting for €31.2 bn. This meant the other 2,233 instruments faced no flows or net outflows for the month (When looking at this statistic, one needs to bear in mind that some of these instruments are convenience share classes that do not report assets under management. This means Lipper can’t calculate fund flows for these ETFs). Upon closer inspection, only 57 of the 1,149 ETFs posting net inflows enjoyed inflows of more than €100 m during August—for a total of €13.7 bn. The best-selling ETF for August was the UBS ETF (IE) MSCI ACWI SF UCITS ETF (hedged to USD) A-acc, which enjoyed estimated net inflows of €1.3 bn. It was followed by UBS ETF (IE) MSCI ACWI SF UCITS ETF (hedged to CHF) A-acc (+€0.9 bn) and iShares $ Corporate Bond UCITS ETF USD Dist. (+€0.8 bn).

Graph 9: Ten Best-Selling ETFs, August 2022 (Euro Millions)

Source: Refinitiv Lipper

 

The flow pattern at the fund level indicated there was a lot of turnover and rotation during August, but it also showed the concentration of the European ETF industry even better than the statistics at the promoter or classification levels. Given its size and the overall trend for net sales at the promoter level, it was not surprising that five of the 10 best-selling funds for August were promoted by iShares. These iShares ETFs accounted for total estimated net inflows of €2.6 bn.

 

The views expressed are the views of the author, not necessarily those of Refinitiv Lipper or LSEG.

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