Displaying items by tag: ETFs

Assets in model portfolios grew by nearly 50% over the last 2 years. By fully or partially outsourcing the investment management function, it frees up more time for advisors to focus on building their practice, client service, financial planning, and prospecting. According to a recent survey from Cerulli, 12% of advisors are using model portfolios primarily, with 22% using a hybrid approach. 

In addition to benefiting advisors, model portfolios have become a major distribution channel for asset managers such as Blackrock. Among asset managers, Blackrock has the most assets in model portfolios at $84 billion. Blackrock anticipates model portfolio assets exceeding $10 trillion within the next 5 years, more than doubling from $4.2 trillion currently. Model portfolios comprised 50% of flows from US investors into iShares ETFs last year.

WisdomTree is another major beneficiary of the boom in model portfolios. Last year, the company saw a 100% increase in the number of advisors using its model and had asset growth of 40%. It sees model portfolios as a ‘key growth driver’ for the firm in the coming years.

As model portfolios become a larger presence in wealth management, there will be large shifts of flows in and out of various ETFs depending on decisions made by asset managers. For instance, JPMorgan found that ETFs that were held in its model portfolios had significantly more inflows than ETFs not in model portfolios, at $80 billion vs. $30 billion. 

Finsum: Model portfolios are forecast to exceed $10 trillion in assets within the next 5 years. They are becoming increasingly integral for advisors and asset managers. 

Published in Wealth Management
Saturday, 18 May 2024 12:54

Fixed Income ETF Flows Pick Up in April

April was marked by a mean reversion as robust inflation data and continued economic resilience dampened expectations of Fed dovishness later this year. As a result, flows into equity ETFs dropped from $106 billion in March to $41 billion in April. 

In contrast, flows surged into fixed income ETFs, increasing more than 60% to $27.4 billion. Lower-risk government bond ETFs attracted the most inflows at $10.1 billion, which was the highest since October of last year. Within the category, short and intermediate-term Treasuries captured the most inflows. 

In the US, flows into fixed-income ETFs were greater than equity ETF flows, at $15.2 billion vs. $14.1 billion. Scott Chronert, the global head of ETF research at Citi, noted “US-listed ETF flows decelerated this month against a generally risk-off backdrop. Underlying trends also pointed to more cautious positioning. Fixed income led all asset classes, but the gains were skewed towards core products, shorter durations, and Treasuries.”

Until something material changes in regard to inflation or the economy, it’s likely that investors will continue to favor ETFs that benefit from short-term rates remaining higher for longer. 

Finsum: Fixed income inflows into ETFs sharply increased in April, while equity inflows declined. This was a downstream effect of reduced expectations of Fed rate cuts in the second half of the year due to an uptick in inflation.

Published in Bonds: Total Market
Saturday, 11 May 2024 08:04

Tax Advantages of SMAs

A feature of separately managed accounts (SMAs) is that investors directly own securities, compared to an ETF or mutual fund. This makes them more tax-efficient, as investors have more opportunities to harvest tax losses and capitalize on volatility. In contrast, mutual funds, or ETFs, offer much more limited opportunities.  

With SMAs, tax losses can be harvested even in years with positive returns, as securities that are down can be sold. These losses can be used to offset gains and reduce an investor's overall tax bill. Positions can be rebought after 30 days to avoid wash sale restrictions, or stocks with similar factor scores can be purchased instead. 

Unlike mutual funds, SMAs are not subject to embedded capital gains. Embedded capital gains mean that an owner of a mutual fund is liable for capital gains depending on a position’s cost basis. This means that an investor in a mutual fund could be liable for capital gains, even if they have a loss on the position. 

In stressful markets, mutual funds can see distributions of capital gains if there is a surge of redemptions, adding to the risk of a capital gains tax bill in concert with a losing position. With SMAs, this risk is nonexistent since securities are directly purchased. Instead, there is more flexibility to pursue the most tax-efficient strategy.

Finsum: Separately managed accounts offer certain tax advantages to investors over investing in ETFs or mutual funds. Over time, the boost to after-tax returns can be quite significant, especially for high-net-worth investors. 


Published in Wealth Management
Thursday, 02 May 2024 12:42

Active ETFs Eating Up Market Share

Active ETFs have been steadily gaining market share from mutual funds, experiencing a consistent 20% growth in assets annually over the past five years, reflecting investors' growing preference for the cost-efficient and adaptable nature of ETFs. During this period, they have expanded their share of the overall ETF market, skyrocketing from 2% to 8.5%, as indicated by Morningstar's recent analysis on actively managed funds.


 Despite their current assets standing just above $600 million amidst the $8.9 trillion U.S. ETF landscape, they are advancing at a faster pace than both the overall market and their passive counterparts. Investors have injected $375 billion into actively managed ETFs in the last five years, while active mutual funds have witnessed a staggering outflow of $1.8 trillion, according to Morningstar's data.


Investors can anticipate continued growth for active ETFs, asserting their burgeoning prominence within the fund industry, fueled by investor demand and their role in alleviating the outflows from active mutual funds.

Finsum: Investors tend to think pickers have their largest advantage in volatility and macro environments, so this trend could continue. 

Published in Wealth Management

Grayscale has been a pioneer in terms of bringing crypto investments to a wider group of investors with the launch of Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) in 2016. For some time, it was the primary vehicle to get exposure to the asset through traditional means. However, the SEC’s approval of bitcoin ETFs means that the landscape is more competitive, with offerings from leading asset managers at lower costs. 

Now, Grayscale is launching a spinoff version of GBTC, which will have a much lower fee of 0.15% vs. 1.5% for GBTC. The new ETF, Grayscale Bitcoin Mini Trust (BTC), will have the lowest fee among all spot bitcoin ETFs. At launch, about 10% of GBTC’s assets will be moved to BTC, which means GBTC shareholders can convert holdings into BTC without having to pay capital gains taxes. 

With the launch of several spot bitcoin ETFs, there were net outflows from GBTC despite bitcoin’s impressive gains over the past few months. Previously, gains in bitcoin would coincide with a surge in inflows into GBTC. 

The success of new bitcoin ETFs from Blackrock, Fidelity, Bitwise, and Ark also shows that there is strong demand for low-cost ETFs in the crypto space. In contrast, GBTC was structured more like a mutual fund. 

Finsum: Grayscale is launching a spinoff version of its Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), which will come with significantly lower costs as the asset manager looks to compete with the launch of several bitcoin ETFs.

Published in Alternatives
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