Focus on Funds: Exchange-Traded Fund Assets Rise in 2020


Focus on Funds

Exchange-Traded Fund Assets Rise in 2020

As the year draws to a close, assets under management in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are up considerably. In the December 11, 2020, edition of Focus on Funds, ICI Senior Director of Financial and Industry Analysis Shelly Antoniewicz discusses investment trends in domestic equity, world equity, and bond ETFs.


Stephanie Ortbals-Tibbs, ICI director of media relations: 2020 has been an extraordinary year in every way, and that includes flows into exchange-traded funds. Shelly, you and your team have been looking after the trend lines. What do you see?

Shelly Antoniewicz, ICI senior director of industry and financial analysis: ETFs are having a spectacular year and are well on their way to a record pace, with over $400 billion coming into funds so far. Leading the way are bond ETFs, which have accounted for 45 percent of the inflow. Demand for domestic equity ETFs has also been strong this year. No doubt—we’ve got the markets up double digits in returns. Demand for world equity ETFs has been a little bit subdued this year until just recently, where we’ve seen a substantial pickup.

This could be related to the positive news that we’ve seen on the vaccines and the subsequent implications for improvement in the global economic outlook.

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