Despite a brutal first half of the year for most asset classes, investors largely stayed the course rather than trying to time markets or drastically adjust allocations, a report from Morningstar says.
“Investors were wild for risk assets in 2021, but 2022 has not been a complete reversal despite market conditions,” said the report on global mutual fund and ETF flows during the first six months of the year.
“There have been no signs of ‘capitulation’ in any asset class.”
Investors withdrew $136 billion (all figures in U.S. dollars) from mutual funds and ETFs in the first half for an organic growth rate of -0.29%, Morningstar said. During the same period last year, investors poured $1.4 trillion into funds for a 3.5% growth rate. Assets fell to $38 trillion on June 30 from $48 trillion at the end of 2021.
The report attributed the lack of investor panic to the increased use of model portfolios, allocation funds and target-date funds (the latter are used especially in U.S. 401(k)s).
Equity funds saw inflows of $131 billion for the first half, growing by 0.47% even as stocks took a beating. But rather than evidence of investors “buying the dip,” the report said automatic rebalancing of model portfolios probably played a greater role.
Equity index funds, in particular, remained popular in the first six months, with $311 billion flowing in while active equity funds saw $180 billion in outflows.
Fixed income funds saw outflows of $332 billion for an organic growth rate of -2.8% — the worst six-month period since 2009, Morningstar said. Surging inflation also contributed to $301 billion flowing out of money market funds.
Alternative funds grew by 4.76%, with $26 billion in inflows, while sustainable funds had positive inflows and a 1.79% growth rate.
In Canada, mutual funds recorded CA$3.5 billion in net redemptions in the first half of the year, a sharp drop from the CA$72.5 billion in net sales for the same period in 2021. ETF net sales topped CA$16 billion, which was about half of the total a year ago.