By Michael Johnston, founder of ETF Database.So much for a slow December. The latest National Stock Exchange numbers are out, and December was one of the best months on record for the ETF industry. Total cash inflows totaled nearly $30 billion, as investors flocked to domestic equities in the final month of the year. Nearly every issuer saw a big jump in assets in December, led by State Street ( STT), iShares and PowerShares. Total ETF assets increased to $790.9 billion, an increase of more than 5% over November's totals.
Issuer HighlightsIn dollar terms, State Street and iShares had the best month, as assets for these issuers increased by $14.8 billion and $11.6 billion, respectively. But several of the industry's smaller players continued to post big gains as well. Global X saw assets grow by more than 600% following the launch of six sector-specific China ETFs on the month. Several of the new funds had already accumulated major assets: Global X China ( CHIX) had $32 million in assets while Global X China Industrials ( CHII) closed the year at $26 million. After leading the industry in cash inflows in December, Vanguard followed with a relatively weak December, taking in only $1.9 billion, the majority of which was attributable to Vanguard Emerging Markets Stock ETF ( VWO). Schwab ( SCHW) also continued its steady push into the industry, launching two new funds and growing total assets by more than 140% for the month. Among firms with under $1 billion in assets, seven posted month-over-month asset increases of more than 10%, including Emerging Global Advisors, PIMCO, RevenueShares, Greenhaven, and ALPS. Among the $1 billion-plus issuers, USCF (+17%), First Trust (+15%), and PowerShares (+11%) posted the biggest asset increases.