On the day his company announced it was acquiring Claymore, BlackRock’s CEO Bill Chinery called ETFs “electric cars in a world of internal combustion engines.”
What he meant was that ETFs, despite the attention poured on them by the media and DIY investors, are still only a small part of the fund industry. ETFs in Canada now manage about $43.1 billion in assets. By comparison, Canadians have $778.5 billion invested in mutual funds—about 18 times more.
That’s a big gap, but it’s been closing for a few years now. According to a recent report, ETFs in this country saw more than $7.6 billion in new sales in 2011, increasing their total assets by nearly 13%. Compare that with another report from the Investment Funds Institute of Canada. Canadian mutual funds, it says, now manage $8.8 billion less than they did at the beginning of 2011. Of course, part of that decline is a result of negative equity returns and not investor withdrawals. But the stats do make it clear that the mutual fund industry is moving in the opposite direction of ETFs:
Balanced mutual funds saw inflows of $27.7 billion in 2011—a hefty sum,