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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Micro Firms' Inflows Rise as AUM Marketshare Drops

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

The smallest fund firms' inflows are rising, yet their share of industry AUM and inflows is slipping.

This article draws from Morningstar Direct data on March 2021 open-end mutual fund and ETF flows, excluding money-market funds and funds of funds. More specifically, this article focuses on the 482 firms (up from 480 in February 2021 but down from 536 in March 2020) with less than $1 billion each in long-term fund AUM.

Micro fund firms had $93 billion in total long-term AUM as of March 31, accounting for 0.37 percent of industry AUM. That's up from $91 billion but down from 0.38 percent on February 28, 2021. And it's down from $96 billion and 0.41 percent on March 31, 2020.

257 micro fund firms brought in net inflows last month, down from 263 in February 2021 but up from 229 in March 2020.

1290 Funds took the lead last month among micro fund firms, thanks to an estimated $275 million in March 2021 inflows, up month-over-month from $51 million in February 2021 and up year-over-year from $13 million in March 2020. Other big March inflows winners included: Lyrical, $109 million (up MOM from $18 million, up YOY from $79 million in net outflows0; Chiron, $97 million (up MOM from $81 million, up YOY from $252 million in net outflows); Strategy Shares, $69 million (up MOM from $30 million, up YOY from $45 million in net outflows); and Cambria, $69 million (up MOM from $21 million, up YOY from $6 million).

Last month included three apparent newcomers: ASYMshare, Democracy Investments, and Monarch Funds.

In Q1 20201, 1290 led the micro inflows pack with an estimated $357 million in net Q1 inflows. Other big Q1 inflows winners included: Roundhill Financial, $353 million; Chiron, $218 million; Absolute Strategies, $210 million; and Strategy Shares, $177 million.

On the flip side, last month was a rough one for Renaissance Capital, which led the micro outflows pack thanks to an estimated $152 million in net March 2021 outflows, down MOM from $31 million in February 2021 inflows but up YOY from $4 million in March 2020 outflows. Other big March 2021 outflows sufferers included: Aware, $72 million (down MOM from negligible inflows, down YOY from $22 million in net inflows); Liberty Street, $67 million (up from MOM from $14 million, down YOY from $109 million in net inflows); EntrepreneurShares, $50 million (down MOM from $9 million in net inflows, down YOY from $20 million in net inflows); and TransWestern Funds, $50 million (up MOM from $16 million, down YOY from $22 million in net inflows).

For Q1 2021 overall, Muzinich led the micro outflows pack thanks to an estimated $315 million in net outflows. Other big Q1 outflows sufferers included: Schroder, $296 million; MainGate Trust, $159 million; BTS, $88 million; and Liberty Street, $86 million.

As a group, micro firms brought in an estimated $1.334 billion in net March 2021 inflows, equivalent to 1.43 percent of their combined AUM and accounting for 0.85 percent of industry inflows. That's up from $1.309 billion, level with 1.43 percent of AUM, and down from 0.91 percent of industry inflows in February 2021. And it's up from $2.009 billion in net outflows, 2.1 percent of AUM in net outflows, and 0.62 percent of industry outflows in March 2020.

In Q1 2021, micro fund firms brought in an estimated $3.456 billion in net inflows, equivalent to 3.71 percent of their combined AUM and accounting for 0.86 percent of net industry inflows. 

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