Active ETFs Push Assets to All-Time Peak

ETFs with active strategies made up 19% of all ETF fund inflows in November.

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Finance Reporter
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Reviewed by: Kent Thune
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Edited by: Lou Carlozo

As the stock market hit a positive turning point in 2023, assets in the $7.6 trillion ETF industry grew even further—reaching an all-time high by the end of last year.  

Even though ETFs continue to draw assets from their mutual fund counterparts, total mutual fund assets grew 6.6% in the third quarter of last year, according to a new report from Cerulli Associates. While mutual fund assets shot up to $17.7 trillion, they still saw outflows over November as the stock market realized gains driven by high-flying tech stocks.

Record Year for ETF Inflows 

November’s standout month for ETF inflows made 2023 a record year.  

In two reports, ETF assets reached $7.6 trillion for the first time ever, according to Cerulli, and $7.65 trillion, according to State Street Advisors. All funds globally had inflows of $967 billion as of Dec. 28, according to iShares, the ETF division of BlackRock Inc. iShares itself had global inflows of $186 billion, the most in the industry, the company said.  

Much of the increase in ETF assets stems from the stock market’s recovery in the second half of 2023. The S&P 500 gained 9% in November after the Federal Reserve paused its interest-rate increases and Congress passed a budget that prevented a government shutdown. The tech-heavy Nasdaq-100 rose 11% in November, ending its streak of three straight losing months.  

Yet the huge influx still did not compare to 2021’s investment frenzy. “When you put [the flows] into historical perspective, it's still not on par with the caliber of flows that we saw in 2021, for example,” said Ryan Jackson, a research analyst at Morningstar in a December interview. “But after sharp outflows last year and kind of a touch and go 2023, it’s a positive development,”  

JEPI, Active ETF Growth 

ETF assets saw their best month since December 2021 in November, as the funds brought in $135 billion over the month, according to information provided to etf.com by State Street Global Advisors. For the first time ever, active ETFs, including the wildly popular JPMorgan Equity Premium ETF (JEPI), saw about $26 billion in inflows over November, which made up 22% of all fresh money into ETFs.  

Contact Lucy Brewster at [email protected].  

Lucy Brewster is a finance reporter at etf.com covering asset managers, emerging technologies, and regulation. She hosts etf.com webinars and appears on Exchange Traded Fridays, etf.com’s flagship podcast. She previously was a finance fellow at Fortune Magazine where she covered markets, investment strategy, and venture capital. She has also been a freelancer writer at the publication Mergers & Acquisitions and a research fellow at the Historic Hudson Valley. 

She graduated from Vassar College in 2022 with a degree in History and was an editor of The Miscellany News, the college's award winning student run newspaper. 

Lucy lives in Brooklyn, NY, and in her free time she loves to run and find new recipes to cook.