Vanguard’s inflows of new investor money are off to a strong start so far this year, with investors handing over $106 billion year to date through April -- more than four times any other company.
Vanguard’s $106 billion intake was spread across index mutual funds, Exchange Traded Funds, active funds and other products, according to Bloomberg. Of about 700 asset managers, Charles Schwab was a distant second with inflows of about $24 billion during the same period, mostly into its money market funds.
Vanguard is dominating “though many competitors offer even cheaper passive funds, and its gap with the rest of the industry has widened in bear markets,” noted Bloomberg analyst Eric Balchunas.
Vanguard took in $1.5 trillion over the past five years, more than twice as much as No. 2 BlackRock, with $685 billion, according to Bloomberg. Vanguard currently manages just over $5.1 trillion in assets globally.
And that new investor money wasn’t just flowing into Vanguard’s flagship index funds.
“We forget that Vanguard’s actively-managed funds can succeed on performance as well," said Jeff DeMaso, director of research at Adviser Investments and research director for The Independent Adviser for Vanguard Investors newsletter. Adviser Investments invests in many Vanguard funds for clients with over $5 billion in assets, and calls itself a “watchdog” of the investment firm.
“We like Vanguard’s active funds with index-like fees. Everyone says index funds are eating the world. but active funds at Vanguard have put up strong numbers,” he said. “We think it’s more appropriate to compare ‘high cost versus low cost’ funds, instead of active versus passive.”
Vanguard, the largest passive-fund manager with $3.8 trillion in assets, is likely to become the largest active manager as well within a few years. Currently Vanguard boasts $1.37 trillion in active mutual fund assets, well ahead of Fidelity and only $179 billion behind American Funds, thanks to a higher growth rate on strong inflows at a time when most such funds are seeing outflows.