Lisa Shea, Northern Trust

But I'm not dead yet… mutual funds are alive and well


By Lisa Shea, Manager, Fund Governance Solutions – While some may have dragged mutual funds out to the cart to be hauled away, they remain a sizeable and still growing presence in our industry. Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) are also growing, but it’s important to look at the full picture. As of 31 March, 2019, the Investment Company Institute (ICI) reports that there are more than USD19 trillion in assets in open end mutual funds, compared to USD3.77 trillion in ETFs, with AUM growing for both categories.

Furthermore, the ICI’s 2019 Investment Company Fact Book notes that there were more than 17,000 open end mutual funds active as of the end of 2018 and, although mergers and liquidations have outpaced launches for the past few years, new open end funds continue to launch, with 345 new funds in 2018. While ETF growth is real, with 237 new ETFs launching in 2018, they have not yet come anywhere close to knocking the open end mutual fund on the head.

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