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It was a weak RRSP sales season for the fund industry, but fund assets rose nonetheless, according to the latest data from the Investment Funds Institute of Canada (IFIC).

IFIC reports that mutual funds generated $4.1 billion in net sales for February, down from the $7 billion recorded in the same month last year.

Moreover, combined with the dearth of net sales in January, net sales this year total just under $4.1 billion, compared with $11.9 billion in the first two months of 2018.

By asset class, bond funds led the way in February, with $1.9 billion in net sales. Balanced funds managed $1.65 billion in monthly net sales, while equity funds eked out just $54 million in sales.

The picture is much the same for exchange-traded funds (ETFs). IFIC reports that ETFs had $1.3 billion in net sales for February, which is well below the $2.4 billion in net sales last February.

For the first two months of the year, ETFs generated $2.2 billion in net sales, down from $4.5 billion for the same period last year.

Yet, it was equity funds leading the way in the ETF space, with $555 million in February net sales. Bond funds ranked second with net sales of $480 million, and balanced funds had $174 million in monthly sales.

Despite the weak net sales, however, IFIC also reports that mutual fund assets rose by $33.4 billion in February, up 2.3% to $1.51 trillion.

ETF assets grew even faster, rising by 3.0% in the month to $169 billion, which represents a $4.9 billion increase.