Canadian ETFs brought in $4 billion in February, as high-interest savings ETFs continued to “rake in the money,” according to National Bank Financial’s monthly ETF report.
Fixed-income ETFs, with inflows of $2.64 billion, led February’s flows, despite outflows of $154 million from the short-term fixed income category. The high-interest savings category continued a strong run, bringing in $1.4 billion in February.
ETFs rebounded broadly last month after January’s outflow of $342 million.
“The category of ‘cash alternative’ ETFs has historically been popular but received a shot in the arm in 2022 when interest rates started to rise,” the report said, with assets in the sub-category rising to $17.9 billion by the end of February.
Cash alternatives now account for 18% of the entire fixed income market, leading National Bank to consider breaking out “money market ETFs” into a separate category in future reports.
Leading the fixed-income inflows were the CI High Interest Savings ETF ($609 million), the Horizons High Interest Savings ETF ($413 million) and the BMO High Yield US Corporate Bond CAD-H ETF ($216 million), National Bank said.
Multi-asset ETFs provided inflows of $357 million.
“Even after a volatile 2022, which was among the worst calendar years for traditional 60/40 portfolios, multi-asset ETFs signaled their staying power by extending their inflow streak which has been going strong since 2018,” the report said.
Equity ETFs saw inflows of $955 million as thematic ETFs brought in $238 million and sector ETFs added $212 million. Technology-sector ETFs had outflows of $89 million in February while the financial and health-care categories had inflows of $138 million and $88 million respectively.
ESG equity ETFs saw inflows of $288 million.
“Although the ESG narrative has come in for some debate in recent months, the iShares ESG Aware suite of products (XSUS) and actively managed ESG ETFs from NBI continued to attract new money in February,” the report said.
Crypto-asset ETFs saw $52 million in outflows last month after a “brief burst of inflows” in January that brought in $105 million, the report said. Commodities ETFs, meanwhile, saw outflows of $15 million.
ETF assets totalled $328.05 billion at the end of February.
Fifteen new ETFs were launched in February.