After many years of decline, 2017 marks a return to form for active fund sales in the US.
Over the first eight months of the year, the funds we track in the 40 Act market have experienced inflows of $72.7 billion. Although this figure is not on the same scale as the figure for passive products, it nonetheless gives asset managers reason to cheer, particularly combined with asset-price increases in the year to date.
Active funds with the biggest inflows
Fixed income dominates the top 10 most popular sectors, occupying all six of the top spots. Core Bond funds have taken the lion’s share, with estimated net flows of $26.4 billion. This has been led by Fidelity’s Investment Grade Bond fund, which has nearly doubled in size from $24 billion at the start of the year to $39 billion today, having gained $14.6 billion.
Next up is Multi-Sector Income, which is up $25.7 billion, with almost all of that coming from Pimco’s new golden goose, Daniel Ivascyn and Alfred Murata’s Income fund, which has drawn an astonishing $21.1 billion year to date.
When combined with the news that last month the Pimco Total Return fund had its first positive month since the departure of Bill Gross in September 2014, things certainly look rosy at the Newport Beach-based behemoth.
These flows put Pimco fourth in the active manager league table, just edged out of the top three by Gross’s new home, Janus Capital, with estimated net inflows of $15.4 billion and $15.8 billion respectively. However, these are dwarfed by the flows going into active funds at Fidelity ($33 billion) and Vanguard ($48.4 billion).
One of the surprises from this data set is that pure technology funds have not been claiming much cash despite their high returns, with combined flows into US Science/Technology and Global Science & Technology funds over the period standing at just $1 billion. It would appear that given big tech's dominance of the broad market, investors believe they are already exposed enough to this sector. There are some winners in this category though, with the Fidelity Select Technology and T. Rowe Price’s Global Technology funds both boasting $1 billion of inflows.
Emerging Markets also misses out on a top 10 berth with inflows of $5.8 billion year to date. In this sector, Citywire + rated Liu-Er Chen’s Delaware Emerging Markets fund has taken in the most money at $1.4 billion, with 97th percentile risk-adjusted returns over the past year.
Sector successes and failures
Source (all tables): Citywire Discovery/ Lipper. All data is estimated, taken on September 11 2017, with only those funds run by Citywire-tracked managers contributing