Equity UCITS sales bounced back in Q4 but bond funds remain 2019 bestsellers

Total net assets of UCITS and AIFs grew by 3.3 per cent in Q4 to EUR17.7 trillion, bringing the annual growth figure to 16.8 per cent for 2019, according to the Quarterly Statistical Release from the European Fund and Asset Management Association (EFAMA). 

After the steep stock-market drop at the end of 2018, both stock and bond markets grew strongly over the course of 2019.  

Continued growth net sales in Q4, at EUR190 billion, was largely driven by UCITS (EUR148 billion), bringing annual net sales for both UCITS and AIFs to EUR546 billion in 2019 (from EUR258 billion in 2018). AIFs sales amounted to EUR43 billion in Q4, totalling EUR152 billion in 2019 (from EUR137 billion in 2018).

Bond fund sales slowed down in Q4 but remained the bestselling UCITS category in 2019, gathering EUR301 billion in net new money. Fear over a global economic slowdown prompted central banks around the world to move towards more accommodative monetary policy.  As the situation seemed to improve, the bond fund rally subsided in favour of other long-term funds. 
Equity funds suffered net outflows in 2019 despite a return to positive territory in Q4. A tentatively improving economic outlook, supported by decisive monetary policy actions, increased investor confidence.  Net inflows into equity funds amounted to EUR53 billion, compared to net outflows of EUR12 billion in Q3 2019.
Investors’ renewed confidence in the last quarter of 2019 saw multi-asset funds recording stronger net sales, amounting to EUR57 billion, up from EUR30 billion in Q3 2019.
The demand for ETFs strengthened in Q4. Net sales of UCITS ETFs amounted to EUR46 billion, almost a third of total UCITS net sales.
Bernard Delbecque, Senior Director for Economics and Research, says: “Our latest Quarterly Release confirms the very high market share of UCITS domiciled in Luxembourg and Ireland and held elsewhere in Europe and the world (57 per cent at end 2019), as well as the central importance of Germany, the UK, France, the Netherlands and Italy, which together held 70 per cent of investment fund assets at end September 2019.  A thorough analysis of the sales of cross-border UCITS and the demand for UCITS and AIFs will be provided in the EFAMA 2020 Fact Book, which will be published in June”.