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April 16, 2018

Monday Morning Memo: Review of the European ETF Market, March 2018

by Detlef Glow.

Despite the promoters of ETFs in Europe enjoying net inflows for March, the assets under management in the European ETF industry (€628.3 bn) decreased, down from €632.2 bn at the end of February 2018. The decrease of €3.9 bn for March was driven by the performance of the underlying markets (-€4.7 bn), while net sales (+€0.8 bn) contributed positive results to the assets under management in the ETF segment.

With regard to the overall number of products, it was not surprising that equity funds (€451.8 bn) held the majority of the assets, followed by bond funds (€146.2 bn), commodity products (€19.3 bn), “other” funds (€6.6 bn), money market funds (€3.4 bn), mixed-asset funds (€0.7 bn), and alternative UCITS products (€0.3 bn).

Graph 1: Market Share, Assets Under Management in the European ETF Segment by Asset Type, March 31, 2018

European ETF Market Report - March 2018

Source: Thomson Reuters Lipper

Fund Flows by Asset Type

Even in the volatile environment of March 2018, equity ETFs (+€0.9 bn) were once again the asset type with the highest net inflows of the European ETF industry, followed by money market ETFs (+€0.1 bn), commodity ETFs (+€0.1 bn), “other” ETFs (+€0.1 bn), and mixed-asset ETFs (+€0.01 bn). Meanwhile, alternative UCITS ETFs    (-€0.1 bn) and bond ETFs (-€0.3 bn) posted net outflows.

This flow pattern drove the overall net flows up to €20.9 bn for the year 2018 so far.

Graph 2: Estimated Net Sales, March 2018 (Euro Millions)

European ETF Market Report - March 2018

Source: Thomson Reuters Lipper

Assets Under Management by Lipper Global Classifications

With regard to the Lipper global classifications, the European ETF market was split into 154 different peer groups. The highest assets under management at the end of March were held by funds classified as Equity US (€100.6 bn), followed by Equity Eurozone (€55.6 bn), Equity Global (€50.9 bn), and Equity Europe (€36.8 bn) as well as Equity Emerging Markets Global (€34.4 bn). These five peer groups accounted for 44.29% of the overall assets under management in the European ETF segment, while the ten top classifications by assets under management accounted for 59.33%. Overall, 19 of the 154 peer groups each accounted for more than 1% of the assets under management. In total, these 19 peer groups accounted for €452.5 bn or 72.02% of the overall assets under management. In addition, it is noteworthy that the ranking of the largest peer groups was quite stable, indicating that European investors use the funds from these peer groups as core holdings and not just as so-called satellites that are bought and sold quite frequently to implement asset allocation views in the investors’ portfolios. These numbers show that the assets under management in the European ETF industry continued to be highly concentrated.

Graph 3: Ten Top Lipper Global Classifications by Assets Under Management, March 31, 2018 (Euro Millions)

European ETF Market Report - March 2018

Source: Thomson Reuters Lipper

The peer groups on the other side of the table showed that some funds in the European ETF market are quite low in assets and may risk being closed in the near future. They are obviously lacking investor interest and might therefore not be profitable for the respective fund promoters (Please read our report: “Is there a consolidation ahead in the European ETF industry?” for more details on this topic.)

Graph 4: Ten Smallest Lipper Global Classifications by Assets Under Management, March 31, 2018 (Euro Millions)

European ETF Market Report - March 2018

Source: Thomson Reuters Lipper

Fund Flows by Lipper Global Classifications

With regard to the overall sales for March, it was not surprising that the ten best selling peer groups were dominated by equity funds, since equity ETFs were once again investors’ darlings for the month. The best selling Lipper global classification for March was Equity US (+€1.8 bn), followed by Equity Emerging Markets Global (+€1.1 bn) and Equity Global (+€0.7 bn).

The inflows of the ten best selling Lipper classifications equalled to 684.66% of the overall net inflows. These numbers showed that the European ETF segment is also highly concentrated with regard to fund flows by sectors. Generally speaking, one would expect the flows into ETFs to be concentrated, since investors often use ETFs to implement their market views and short-term asset allocation decisions; these products are made for and therefore are easy to use for these purposes.

Graph 5: Ten Best and Worst Selling Lipper Global Classifications by Estimated Net Sales, March 2018 (Euro Millions)

European ETF Market Report - March 2018 

Source: Thomson Reuters Lipper

On the other side of the table the ten peer groups with the highest net outflows for March accounted for €4.8 bn of outflows. Equity Eurozone (-€1.0 bn) faced the highest net outflows, bettered by Bond EUR Corporates (-€0.8 bn) and Equity Germany (-€0.5 bn).

Assets Under Management by Promoters

A closer look at the assets under management in the European ETF industry by promoters also showed high concentration, since only 19 of the 49 ETF promoters in Europe held assets at or above €1.0 bn each. The largest ETF promoter in Europe—iShares (€292.2 bn)—accounted for 46.50% of the overall assets under management, far ahead of the number-two promoter—Xtrackers (€68.9 bn)—and the number-three promoter—Lyxor ETF (€63.3 bn). (To learn more about the concentration of the European ETF market at the promoter level, please read our report: Facts about the concentration in the European ETF industry.)

Graph 6: Ten Top ETF Promoters by Assets Under Management, March 31, 2018 (Euro Millions)

European ETF Market Report - March 2018

Source: Thomson Reuters Lipper

The ten top promoters accounted for 92.97% of the overall assets under management in the European ETF industry. This meant in turn that the other 39 fund promoters registering at least one ETF for sale in Europe accounted for only 7.03% of the overall assets under management.

Fund Flows by Promoters

Since the European ETF market is highly concentrated, it was a bit surprising that “only” six of the ten largest promoters by assets under management were among the ten top-selling ETF promoters for March and that Europe’s largest ETF promoter—iShares—wasn’t on the list of the ten best selling promoter for the month. Xtrackers was the best selling ETF promoter in Europe for March (+€0.8 bn), ahead of UBS ETF (+€0.7 bn) and Vanguard (+€0.5 bn).

Graph 7: Ten Best Selling ETF Promoters, March 2018 (Euro Millions)

European ETF Market Report - March 2018 

Source: Thomson Reuters Lipper

Since the flows of the ten top promoters accounted for 429.21% of the overall estimated net flows into ETFs in Europe for March, it was clear that some of the 49 promoters (12) faced net outflows (-€2.7 bn in total) over the course of March.

Assets Under Management by Funds

There were 2,422 instruments (primary funds and convenience share classes) listed as ETFs in the Lipper database at the end of March. With regard to the overall market pattern, it was not surprising that the assets under management at the ETF level were also highly concentrated. Only 147 of the 2,422 instruments held assets above €1.0 bn each. These products accounted for €379.8 bn or 60.46% of the overall assets in the European ETF industry. The ten largest ETFs in Europe accounted for €101.5 bn or 16.15% of the overall assets under management. (Please read our study: Is the European ETF industry dominated by only a few funds? to learn more about the concentration at the single-fund level in the European ETF industry.)

Graph 8: Ten Largest ETFs by Assets Under Management, March 31, 2018 (Euro Millions)

European ETF Market Report - March 2018 

Source: Thomson Reuters Lipper

ETF Flows by Funds

A total of 761 of the 2,422 instruments analyzed in this report showed net inflows of more than €10,000 each for March, accounting for €13.7 bn or 1,725.93% of the overall net flows. This meant in turn that the other 1,661 instruments faced no flows or net outflows for the month. In more detail only 27 of the 761 ETFs posting net inflows enjoyed inflows of more than €100 m each during March, summing to €5.5 bn. The best selling ETF for March, iShares $ TreasuryBond 7-10yr UCITS ETF USD (Dist), accounted for net inflows of €0.7 bn or 84.68% of the overall net inflows; it was followed by iShares Core MSCI EM IMI UCITS ETF USD (Acc) (+€0.4 bn) and iShares $ Treasury Bond 1-3yr UCITS ETF USD (Dist) (+€0.3 bn).

Graph 9: Ten Best Selling ETFs, March 2018 (Euro Millions)

European ETF Market Report - March 2018 

Source: Thomson Reuters Lipper

The flow pattern at the fund level indicated that there was a lot of turnover and rotation during March, but it also showed the concentration of the European ETF industry even better than the statistics at the promoter or classification level. It was surprising that four of the ten best selling funds for March were promoted by iShares; these accounted for total net inflows of €1.7 bn or 211.11% of the net inflows into the European ETF segment.

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