iShares Wins 2015 Race For Global ETF Inflows

Last year was another banner year for inflows to exchange-traded funds, and that was music to the ears of BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE:BLK), the world's largest asset manager and the biggest issuer of ETFs.

New York-based BlackRock garnered $130 billion of the $347 billion that flowed into exchange-traded products last year.

BlackRock Breaking Records

The company broke inflows records in both the United States and Europe, the world's two largest ETF markets. According to a statement out Monday, inflows to U.S.-listed iShares ETFs surged to $97 billion last year from $82 billion in 2014. In Europe, iShares' inflows rose to $34 billion from $20 billion in 2014 as the issuer captured 42 percent of flows in both markets.

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Despite lackluster equity markets in 2015, the ETF industry set a new growth record of $347 billion. Institutional and retail investors are using ETFs more and more, whether as tools to express a view on almost any financial market, or for long-term core investments, said Global Head of iShares Mark Wiedman in the statement.

Record-Breaking Home And Abroad

In the United States, iShares had five of last year's top 10 asset-gathering ETFs. The next closest issuer was Vanguard, the second-largest U.S. ETF issuer, with three. Despite concerns pertaining to the Federal Reserve's interest rate policy, investors kept pouring money into bond ETFs last year, and iShares benefited from that trend.

Bond ETFs had an exceptionally strong 2015, growing at 22 percent organic growth rate. Bond ETFs enable retail and institutional investors to access the bond markets at known, transparent prices and with impressive liquidity. iShares won $50 billion globally, 54 percent of all new flows into bond ETFs. During quiet times and volatile times in 2015, iShares bond ETFs performed as clients have come to expect, said Wiedman.

The $30.5 billion iShares Barclays Aggregate Bond Fund (NYSE:AGG), the largest U.S bond ETF, was last year's top asset-gathering fixed income ETF, with inflows of $7.77 billion. That total was exceeded by just four other ETFs. The iShares iBoxx $ Invest Grade Corp Bd Fd (NYSE:LQD) added more than $5.7 billion in new assets in 2015, making it the second-best bond ETF in terms of inflows and the tenth best overall.

International Stock Funds' Performances

Confirming that investors were partial to international equity ETFs last year over U.S. equivalents, three iShares international stock funds were among the top 10 asset-gathering ETFs. That trio is comprised of the iShares MSCI EAFE Index Fund (ETF) (NYSE:EFA), iShares Core MSCI EAFE ETF (iShares Trust (NYSE:IEFA)) and the iShares MSCI EMU Index (ETF) (NYSE:EZU).

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Lowered Fees

In November, iShares lowered the fees on seven of its core ETFs, bringing some of the annual expense ratios on those funds to as low as 0.03 percent per year. That works out to be a mere $3 for every $10,000 invested.

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