Businessman analyzing report

The Canadian mutual fund industry finished 2018 with a whimper, with net sales in negative territory and assets under management (AUM) declining, according to the latest data from the Investment Funds Institute of Canada (IFIC).

The mutual fund industry saw negative net sales of $7.9 billion in December, which represented a further deterioration from the $2.4 billion in negative net sales recorded in November. These recent negative performances left the industry with overall net sales of just $109 million for the year.

Long-term funds ended the year in the red. Long-term funds had negative net sales of $2.5 billion for the full year of 2018, on the heels of $8.9 billion in December outflows.

Bond funds led the way lower last year, with $6.8 billion in negative net sales for the full year. Equity funds had just $224 million in negative net sales in 2018, whereas the balanced category was in positive territory for the year, with $418 million in net sales. The specialty fund category was the year’s strongest performer, with $4.1 billion in positive net sales.

In December, the balanced category was weakest, recording $3.5 billion in negative net sales for the month, followed by bond funds at $2.9 billion, and equity funds with $2.8 billion in negative net sales.

Money market funds and specialty funds were the only categories to turn in positive net sales performances in December. Money markets had $1.1 billion in December net sales, and full-year net sales of $2.7 billion. Specialty funds closed the year with $281 million in positive monthly net sales.

Industry assets also took a dip in December, with AUM dropping by $51.8 billion, or 3.5%, compared with November. Total industry assets finished the year at $1.42 trillion.