Investors flock to ETFs

By Andrew Rickard | February 02 2016 09:31AM

Canadians continue to pour money into exchange-traded funds (ETFs), setting a new record with more than $16.3 billion of inflows last year.

A report from BMO Global Asset Management shows that ETF assets under management reached $90 billion in 2015, which is double the amount they held five years ago. While equity ETFs picked up $9.7 billion as investors increased their U.S. and international holdings, fixed income ETFs accumulated more than $6 billion in inflows. BMO notes that Canada has a higher allocation to fixed income ETFs than the U.S. market, since Canadian bonds are more difficult to trade directly than their American counterparts.

BMO says that "smart beta" ETFs are gaining in popularity since they offer investors a way to manage volatility by screening and weighting securities. The report also points out that ETF providers are taking a more thoughtful approach to currency exposure, and now offer funds with hedged, unhedged, and dynamic hedging strategies.

“We expect the ETF industry to continue on its current growth trajectory,” reads the report. “We project the global ETF industry to double to more than US$6 trillion over the next five years, and the Canadian industry to grow even faster to C$250 billion by 2021."


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