Actively managed ETFs drew $9.8 billion in August -Morningstar

(Reuters) – Flows into actively managed exchange traded funds (ETFs) outpaced those into their passively managed counterparts last month, data from Morningstar showed, continuing a recent trend that has seen active fund managers close the gap with their index-based peers.

Actively managed exchange traded funds pulled in $9.8 billion in cash from investors last month, compared to $9.5 billion for funds that passively seek to replicate the performance of an index, the data showed.

Investors have piled into passively managed ETFs in recent decades, with the assets under management in the category now at $7.05 trillion, from $1 trillion in 2011, according to Todd Rosenbluth, head of research at VettaFi.

Still, while traditional passive ETFs, like those pegged to the Standard & Poor’s 500, continue to dominate the market, the gap between them is narrowing, according to Morningstar, a financial services company that tracks and compiles market data.

Passive funds have pulled in $4.06 for every $1 that goes into active ETFs over the last 12 months, down from $6.02 over the last three years.

As of August, actively managed funds represent only 6% of all ETF assets but accounted for 23% of inflows so far this year, Morningstar said. That’s nearly double the 3.29% share as of December 2020.

“There’s no doubt that we’re in the midst of a breakout for these active ETF products,” said Ryan Jackson, research analyst, passive strategies for Morningstar.

Investors seem to find the combination of “the glamor of having an active end manager and the allure of the ETF wrapper” with its lower costs compelling, he added.

(Reporting by Suzanne McGee; Editing by Ira Iosebashvili and Aurora Ellis)