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A possible explanation for 2019's equity outflows

Data: Investment Company Institute; Note: Nov. 2019 and Dec. 2019 data are estimates; Chart: Axios Visuals

The historic outflow from equity funds this year likely has a lot to do with the aging demographics of the U.S., analysts at the Investment Company Institute say.

What it means: Shelly Antoniewicz, ICI's senior director of industry and financial analysis, says that the record flows out of U.S. and global equity funds and into bond and money market funds largely reflect older Americans' desire for safety.

  • That desire is partially motivated by "uncertainty with trade and tariffs," but it's also about many baby boomers nearing retirement and shifting from stocks to bonds.
  • "When I map out the percentage of the population 65 and over with bond fund flows ... they’re rising in tandem," she tells Axios.

Details: As of the week ending Dec. 4, a record $186.5 billion has been pulled out of equity ETFs and mutual funds.

  • Equity ETFs have seen net inflows, while mutual funds have posted enormous outflows.

Go deeper: How private equity could disrupt the 2020 election