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Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Small Fund Firms' Inflows Evaporate

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

Small fund firms' inflows collapsed last month as coronavirus fears started hitting the markets.

Catherine Wood
ARK Investment Management, LLC
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
This article draws from Morningstar Direct data on February 2020 ETF and open-end mutual fund flows, excluding money-market funds and funds of funds. More specifically, this article focused on the 155 firms (up from 154 in January) with between $1 billion and $10 billion each in fund AUM. 64 of those firms gained net inflows last month, down from 85 in January.

Mercer took the last month, thanks to an estimated $416 million in net February inflows, up from $83 million in net January outflows. Other big February inflows winners included: Ark, $278 million (up from $21 million); James Alpha Advisors, $218 million (up from $22 million); Pacer, $216 million (down from $228 million); and USCF, $195 million (down from $618 million).

Proportionately, James Alpha took the lead last month among small fund firms, with estimated net February inflows equivalent to 17.7 percent of its AUM, up from 2.1 percent in January. Other big February inflows winners included: USCF, 9.2 percent (down from 28.4 percent); Ark, 7.8 percent (up from 0.7 percent); Grayscale, 5.5 percent (down from 7.5 percent); and GQG, 4.7 percent (down from 8.3 percent).

On the flip side, February was a rough month for Milleis, which suffered an estimated $699 million in net outflows, more than any other small fund firm and down from $200 million in net January inflows. Other big February outflows sufferers included: Credit Suisse, $394 million (down from $213 million in net inflows); AIG, $360 million (down from $404 million); Robeco's Boston Partners, $333 million (up from $105 million); and Hotchkis and Wiley (up from $76 million).

Milleis led the small fund firm outflows pack proportionately, too, suffering estimated net February outflows equivalent to 19.2 percent of its AUM, down from 4.6 percent in net inflows. Other big February outflows sufferers included: Chiron, 9.6 percent (up from 4 percent); Sound Shore, 6.7 percent (up from 2.7 percent); Boston Partners, 5.7 percent (up from 1.6 percent); and Hotchkis and Wiley, 4.9 percent (up from 1.4 percent).

As a group, the 155 small fund firms suffered an estimated $866 million in net February outflows, equivalent to about 0.17 percent of their combined AUM. That's down from $3.008 billion in net January inflows.

Across the entire industry, the 769 fund firms (two more than in January) tracked by the M* team brought in a combined $25.459 billion in net February inflows, equivalent to 0.13 percent of industry AUM and down from $83.274 billion in January. Passive funds brought in an estimated $13.784 billion in net February inflows (down 79 percent from $65.959 billion in January), while active funds brought in $11.675 billion in net February inflows (down 33 percent from $17.315 billion in January). 

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