ETFs Have Record Year in 2012

U.S. exchange-traded fund (ETF) assets increased by $292.7 billion or 28% in 2012.

According to data from State Street Global Advisors (SSgA), this growth was driven by more than just market returns—ETFs had positive cash flows of $182.6 billion in 2012, which marks a new all-time high for the industry. In December, U.S. ETF inflows topped $28 billion, as investors poured $15.6 billion of new inflows into large cap ETFs and $8.4 billion into emerging market ETFs.    

SSgA’s ETF Snapshot reports says 1,241 ETFs, with assets totaling $1.3 trillion, were managed by 38 ETF managers as of December 31. During December, ETF assets increased $39 billion, or 3%.  

The S&P 500 returned 0.9%, while the MSCI EAFE increased 3.2%. Commodities were negative, with the S&P GSCI down 0.7% and Gold dropping 4.0%. U.S. Bonds were negative, with the Barclays US Treasury Index and the Barclays US Aggregate Index dipping 0.1% and 0.4%, respectively.  

The top ETF managers in the U.S. ETF marketplace were BlackRock, State Street and Vanguard. Collectively, they account for approximately 84% of the U.S.-listed ETF market.