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Strong 2017 for fund managers; Vanguard and Fidelity lead

Passive fund managers saw a windfall of $227 billion flow into their institutional mutual funds year-to-date 2017 through November, with active managers taking in about $12 billion. The haul passive managers took in was about 95% of all institutional fund flows during the year. Vanguard was at, well, the vanguard of the battle for retirement assets, capturing $179 billion in net inflows, with Fidelity a distant second at $41 billion in net inflows. Blackrock (BLK) and State Street were near the top as well, but most of their passive management business comes from their ETFs.

Dimensional Fund Advisors led net inflows to active managers with about $29 billion, with PIMCO closely behind at $28 billion. Vanguard was there, too, in fourth place, behind American Funds.

Looking to performance, the balance moved heavily in favor of active management, which added a cumulative $1.6 trillion in market value in the first 11 months of the year, while passive managers added about $460 billion. A commonality between asset flows and performance were the managers involved. Fidelity and American Funds were at the top, adding $252 billion and $237 billion, respectively; Vanguard was third, adding about $103 billion in market value.