FRC: Funds Net $11.8 Billion March Inflow

April 24, 2003 ( - Mutual funds continued to pick up assets in March, recording net inflows of $11.8 billion for the month.

Corporate bond funds again led the way by taking in $7.6 billion and an additional $2.8 billion intake was accumulated in government bond funds, both totals lower than the $8.2 billion and $6.1 billion, respectively, that flowed into the categories in February (See  Funds Net February Inflow ).   Other inflows were also recorded in domestic equity funds and tax-free bond funds, amassing $2.1 billion and $14 million respectively in March, according to a Financial Research Corporate (FRC) report.

Conversely, international/global bonds funds could not hold on to the positive inflows recorded in February, turning in a net outflow of $716 million.  Year-to-date, domestic equities are still the only category in the red, with a net outflow of $3 billion.  Comparatively, all other categories have started 2003 with inflows:  corporate bonds ($23 billion), government bonds ($13.7 billion) and international/global bonds ($2.1 billion) and tax-free ($2.0 billion).

As was the case with February’s figures, March was good to bond funds.  In terms of net flows, three out of the top five Morningstar fund categories belonged to bond funds.  High yield bond funds stepped up into the top stop for the month, accumulating $4.7 billion. 

Coming in second place were inflows seen in short-term bonds of $2.1 billion.  Rounding out the top five March inflow categories were:

  • Ultra short bonds – $1.8 billion
  • Domestic hybrid – $1.4 billion
  • Large Blend – $1.1 billion

Family Reunion

Falling into the same rank as the previous month, the Vanguard Group and Fidelity Investments were once again head of the class in terms of total assets, with $471 billion and $456 billion, respectively.  Behind the two sizeable fund families in the total asset race were:

  • American Funds – $321 billion
  • Franklin Distributors Inc – $146 billion
  • Putnam Investments – $125 billion

However, the order got shuffled in March’s best-sellers list, as number one and three leap-frogged into each other’s place.   Vanguard Group held this month’s top stop, recording net flows of $3.2 billion, with American Funds gaining $2.8 billion.  Rounding out the top five in monthly net inflows were:

  • PIMCO Funds – $2.3 billion
  • Fidelity Distributors   – $1.1 billion
  • Dodge & Cox – $958 million

Year-to-date, the top three held true to the previous month’s order, with American Funds on top after $8.9 billion in net flow.  PIMCO followed closely behind, obtaining $8.2 billion and the Vanguard Group tallied $7.8 billion thus far in 2003.  Finishing out the top five list was Dodge & Cox and Fidelity Distributors with $2.6 billion and $2.5 billion in year-to-date net inflows, respectively.

Individual Performance

Dislodging the PIMCO Total Return from the top spot in March’s net flows was the Vanguard Total Stock Index, with $1.6 billion.   First American Core Fund held down the number two spot for the month after a $1.1 billion flow in March, followed by the PIMCO Low Duration’s $771 million for the month.  PIMCO’s Total Return, collecting $621 million and Dodge & Cox’s Stock fund, recording a net inflow for the month of $617 million, held the fourth and fifth spots.

Excluded from the report is all data from money market funds.