Although mutual fund sales finished 2017 on a down note, sales for the year came in well ahead of the previous year’s total thanks to a sharp increase in equity mutual fund sales, according to the latest data from the Investment Funds Institute of Canada (IFIC).

Total mutual fund sales for December were $1.4 billion, down from $1.7 billion in November and $1.8 billion in the same month in 2016. For the full year, mutual fund sales totalled $44.2 billion, up by 47% from the $30.1 billion total recorded in 2016.

In December, long-term funds generated net sales of $1.1 billion and money market funds added another $340 million. For the full year, long-term funds recorded $44.4 billion in net sales and money markets had net redemptions of $188 million.

In 2017, a turnaround in equity fund sales led the surge in overall industry net sales. For the full year, equity funds recorded $7 billion in positive net sales whereas, in 2016, the segment had $6 billion in net redemptions.

Bond funds enjoyed a small uptick in sales for 2017, with full-year sales coming in at $10.1 billion, up from $9.3 billion in 2016. In addition, the specialty mutual fund category generated almost $2.6 billion in net sales during the year, up from $36.7 million in net redemptions in the previous year.

The balanced category continues to account for the bulk of industry net sales at $24.7 billion in 2017. However, this was down from $27.5 billion in 2016.

In December, equity fund sales dropped to just $86 million from $750 million in November; balanced funds recorded net sales of $1.2 billion, down from $1.3 billion in November; and bond funds had $363.7 million in net redemptions, an improvement from $609 million in net redemptions in the prior month.

IFIC also reports that total mutual fund assets under management (AUM) finished the year at $1.48 trillion, up by 10.3% from a year earlier as the industry added $138.3 billion in assets. In December, industry AUM dipped by $ 6.7 billion, or 0.4%.

Monthly sales data are compiled from IFIC and other sources. Aggregate totals are provided by Toronto-based Strategic Insight.