Smart beta equity exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which invest passively using an alternative or customized index, gathered $3.0 billion in new assets last month and accumulated $53.7 billion* during the first 10 months of this year.

According to data compiled by industry research firm ETFGI, there are now 764 smart beta equity ETFs or exchange-traded products offered by 106 providers on 31 exchanges in 27 countries.

ETFGI says that iShares had the largest share of smart beta net inflows in October with $1.6 billion, followed by Guggenheim Investments with $361 million and Charles Schwab Investment Management with US$352 million. Year-to-date, WisdomTree Investments has gathered the most smart-beta money with $20.0 billion, followed by iShares and Vanguard with $6.4 billion and $13.4 billion of net inflows respectively.

"Our findings show that market cap equity ETFs/ETPs are still the most popular based on assets under management where they account for US$1.79 trillion, compared to $399.3 billion invested in Smart Beta equity ETFs/ETPs," says Deborah Fuhr, managing partner at ETFGI. "But when compared on their 5-year compound annual growth rates, Smart Beta equity products are growing significantly faster at 39.3% while market cap has been growing at 18.6%."

* All figures in this article reported in US dollars