Insurance

March proves both a lion and a lamb for fund sales

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This represented a steep drop from both the previous month, and the same month a year ago.

Overall fund sales topped $13 billion in March last year, and long-term funds recorded more than $14 billion in monthly net sales. And, in February, long-term funds generated $9.8 billion in net sales, with overall net sales reaching $9.9 billion.

According to IFIC, balanced funds recorded just $212 million in monthly net sales for March, down from over $5 billion in February, and almost $9 billion in the same month a year ago.

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Equity funds managed $1 billion in monthly net sales in March, down from $4.6 billion in the previous month, and $4.5 billion in March 2021.

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And, bond funds slipped further into net redemptions. In March this year, bond funds had $524 million in net redemptions, down from $155 million worth in February.

The weak March translated in a soft first quarter for mutual funds, which saw $17.6 billion in long-term net sales, down from $45.7 billion for the same period last year.

Despite the sharp drop in sales, mutual fund assets under management (AUM) ended the month slightly higher, up by $4.1 billion, or 0.2%, and back above the $2.0 trillion mark.

While mutual fund sales dropped off a ledge in March, ETF sales actually edged higher.

IFIC reported that total ETF sales rose from just over $4.0 billion in February to $4.6 billion in March. Long-term sales climbed from $3.6 billion to $4.5 billion month over month.

Compared with the same month last year, sales were off a bit — ETF net sales in March 2021 were $4.7 billion — but they held up much better than mutual fund net sales.

For the first quarter, ETF sales this year finished at $13.2 billion, down from $14.5 billion in 2021.

Equity funds led the way in March, with over $2.2 billion in net sales, down from $3.1 billion in February.

However bond funds weren’t far behind, generating over $1.5 billion in monthly net sales, reversing the $53 million in net redemptions recorded in the previous month.

ETF assets also performed far better than mutual funds in March, with industry AUM gaining 2.4% in the month ($7.5 billion) to finish at $324.7 billion.

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