Canadian ETFs had another strong month of inflows in March.
ETF inflows were $1.9 billion for the month, said the latest “Canadian ETF Flows” report from Toronto-based National Bank Financial Inc. That compares to $1.3 billion in the previous month.
Fixed income attracted $1.35 billion in new ETF assets, more than half of which went to the aggregate bond category, the report said.
Inflows to equities reached $384 million, with U.S.-focused ETFs leading the pack at $289 million.
RBC iShares, which has the most ETF assets under management, had slightly negative net outflows for the month due to XIU’s second month of large outflows (iShares S&P/TSX 60 Index ETF). Excluding that fund, RBC iShares had more than $600 million of inflows, the report said. BMO had net inflows of $763 million, followed by Vanguard, at $482 million.
Nine ETFs were launched by three providers during the month—all in the ESG category. For example, Horizons launched the Horizons Laddered Canadian Preferred Share Index ETF in its total return ETF suite in late February. The fund uses swaps with counterparty banks to gain index exposure.
This ETF was launched just before the federal budget, which included potentially major changes to the way synthetic ETFs can treat taxes to market makers and investors, the report said. These changes could impact the future tax treatment of the new Horizons fund, it said, though the changes remain uncertain at this point.
In 2019 so far, a net $3.8 billion has flowed into Canadian ETFs, the report said. More than half of these inflows were in fixed income.
Equity inflows this year have been “healthy,” the report said, at $1 billion. Year-to-date, the bestselling equity categories have been low volatility, dividend/income and momentum strategies.
For full details, read the National Bank monthly report on ETF flows.