There’s a new champion in the battle for bragging rights atop the $5.3 trillion exchange-traded fund industry, while a familiar laggard is seeing its slice of the U.S. market shrink toward a record low.
Vanguard Group is on track to beat BlackRock Inc. in attracting ETF flows for the first time since 2013, with a record of $194 billion so far in 2020, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The world’s largest asset manager lured $113 billion, while State Street Corp. was a distant third place, with $32 billion. The Boston-based firm’s market share is poised to drop for a fifth straight year after a $29 billion exodus from its crown jewel — the $324 billion SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (ticker SPY).
In a year that saw a pandemic send shockwaves through global financial markets, Vanguard and BlackRock have vaulted ahead of rivals in luring cash for their ETFs. Both asset managers were helped in part by their popularity with financial advisers and their presence in model portfolios, which bundle funds into ready-made strategies. State Street hasn’t seen the same level of success given that fees are relatively high on some of its top funds, according to CFRA Research’s Todd Rosenbluth.
While SPY is among the most-profitable products partly due to its expense ratio of 0.095%, BlackRock’s $234 billion iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (ticker IVV) and the $174 billion Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (ticker VOO) each charge only 0.03%.
“As more retail and wealth management investors have joined the ETF market, State Street has missed out on a good chunk of those inflows,” said Mr. Rosenbluth, CFRA’s head of mutual fund and ETF research. “They were late to bring pricing down for products that are used as building blocks of investor portfolios.”