Mutual Fund Industry Up in the Air as Passive Investing Takes Off

How the shift from active to passive management is rocking the mutual fund industry.
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In the past year, $450 billion has flowed into passive index mutual funds and ETFs, while $295 billion has flowed out of active ones. Those flows have a lot of asset managers fretting about the future, said Todd Rosenbluth, director of ETF & Mutual Fund Research at CFRA. Rosenbluth contends that it is still early in the cycle and he expects passive players to continue to gain share as investment advisors increasingly move towards lower cost and better performing products. In the meantime, Rosenbluth expects more consolidation in the industry along the lines of last month's merger between Janus Capital (JNS) and with the UK's Henderson Group. Active U.S. and international equity products have seen the most outflows, according to Rosenbluth, while taxable and municipal bond active funds have still continued to gather assets even amid pressure for lower cost passive products.