Fund investors ignore March volatility

By Steven Lamb | April 4, 2007 | Last updated on April 4, 2007
2 min read

Despite the stock market frights out of the U.S. and Asia last month, Canadian investors seem to have stuck to their investment plans, with net new sales of mutual funds ringing in at between $4.9 billion and $5.5 billion, according to preliminary data from IFIC.

“Investors’ confidence in the growth value of mutual funds remains strong,” said Pat Dunwoody, IFIC’s vice-president, member services and communications. “Long-term fund sales for the first quarter of 2007 are estimated at $17 billion, the highest for the same period since 1998. March also marks six consecutive months of asset increase for the industry.”

Total assets under management for the industry are estimated at between $686 billion and $691 billion, as of March 31. That’s up approximately 1.3% from February’s total of $679.9 billion.

Several industry players released details of their March sales performance separate from the IFIC release. Among the notable milestones, Desjardins Group announced first quarter fund sales rose 84% from the same period a year earlier. Net sales of $821.4 million in the first three months boosted AUM to $11.4 billion.

AGF also enjoyed a strong month — in fact, it was the strongest March on record for the firm, with net sales of long-term funds totaling $396.7 million.

“The momentum in our mutual fund business has continued in the month of March,” said Blake Goldring, chairman and CEO of AGF Management Limited. “Mutual fund performance, strong sales and growth in our PIM and Institutional assets have resulted in total assets under management reaching over $53 billion, up 37% from the prior year.”

March was also kind to the country’s largest independent firm, as CI Financial reported a record AUM of $64.6 billion. Sales were strong as well, with net inflows totaling $309 million, including $280 million into CI Investments funds and $29 million into United Financial Corp. funds. Overall, CI Financial posted quarterly net sales of $914 million.

“This was a terrific quarter for CI,” said Stephen MacPhail, CI Financial’s president and COO. “With average assets rising 5% from the record-setting prior quarter and net sales of over $900 million, fiscal 2007 is off to a great start.”

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Steven Lamb