Open-End Fund Inflows Hit $243B in 2012

Morningstar Inc. reported estimated U.S. mutual fund asset flows through December 2012.

Long-term open-end funds saw inflows of $243 billion in 2012. Money continued flowing out of actively managed stock funds and into all types of bond funds, with yields across many fixed-income sectors either at or near all-time lows.

Since the end of 2008, assets in taxable-bond funds have more than doubled, climbing from $1 trillion to $2.5 trillion, with approximately 65% of the increase attributable to net inflows.

When municipal-bond funds are included, inflows for fixed-income funds have exceeded $1 trillion since the beginning of 2008.

Some highlights of the mutual fund flows report are:

2012 outflows from actively managed U.S.-stock mutual funds surpassed those seen in 2008 despite the fact that the S&P 500 was up 16% for the year. Even when exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are included, large-cap U.S.-stock funds have seen net outflows over the trailing five-year period and in each of the last four years.

Intermediate-term bond funds attracted the greatest inflows of any Morningstar category for the fourth year in a row, taking in $110 billion in 2012. This was almost three times the inflows of $37.5 billion seen by the runner-up, short-term bond.

Vanguard and PIMCO captured 61% of net inflows in 2012, compared with 30% in 2011 and 46% in 2009.

The DoubleLine Total Return Bond Fund, which has a Morningstar analyst rating of Neutral, tallied 2012 inflows of $20 billion to edge out the Gold-rated PIMCO Total Return Fund, which collected $18 billion, for the year’s greatest open-end fund inflows. The inclusion of BOND, the ETF incarnation of PIMCO Total Return, which saw inflows of $3.8 billion in 2012, would move PIMCO’s Bill Gross into first place in terms of overall inflows.   

The complete report is here.