Fund sales drop after RSP rush

By Steven Lamb | April 2, 2009 | Last updated on April 2, 2009
3 min read

The mutual fund industry may have seen only tepid sales in March, according to the Investment Funds Institute of Canada, which estimates net sales may have been as low as $168 million. The high end of the estimate sounds somewhat more respectable, however, at $668 million.

Mutual funds investors had socked away $1.7 billion in February.

“Equity markets were more cooperative last month which resulted in an estimated 4.16% or $20 billion increase in industry assets under management,” said Pat Dunwoody, vice-president of member services and communications with IFIC. “Things were a bit more subdued on the sales side where it’s likely that Canadians were a little less focused on their investments and a little more focused on things like their employment which is understandable.”

IFIC estimates net assets of the mutual fund industry were between $494.2 billion and $499.2 billion at the end of March, up about 4.2% from $476.9 billion at the end of February.

RBC Asset Management and Phillips, Hager & North reported $980 million in net sales for money market funds, while long-term funds were hit with $6 million in net redemptions. Assets under management increased by $3.9 billion, or 4.4%.

“We continue to see strong demand by investors for conservative products,” said Doug Coulter, president of RBC AM. “RBC Select Portfolios saw sales of approximately $100 million in March, with our new Select Very Conservative portfolio accounting for $28 million of that amount — a strong result for this fund in its first month.”

CI Financial reported net sales of $59 million for the month, on gross sales of $702 million. Assets under management rose by $2.8 billion, to $53.2 billon.

“CI experienced a material increase in assets over the month as global equity markets rallied,” said Stephen A. MacPhail, CI President. “This is a positive development for fund investors and CI shareholders and marks a favourable start to the second quarter.”

CI Investments and United Financial Corporation posted combined net sales of $77 million in long term funds, with money market funds seeing $14 million in net redemptions. An additional $4 million in net redemptions stemmed from deposit notes.

IGM Financial posted net redemptions of $82.5 million. Mutual fund assets under management were $81.9 billion as at March 31, 2009, compared to $105.2 billion on the same date last year.

The Investors Group brand posted $34.6 million in net new money for long-term funds, and $24.3 million in net inflows for money market funds. Combined net new money totalled $58.9 million.

Mutual fund assets under management totalled $46.6 billion at the end of March, compared with $58.6 billion a year earlier.

IGM’s Mackenzie Investments division posted net redemptions of $143.3 million for the month, on gross sales of $479 million. Year over year, mutual fund assets under management have fallen 24.4%, to $33.6 billion.

The company reported long-term fund redemptions of $97.8 million, while money market funds saw net redemptions total $45.5 million.

Counsel Group of Funds reported its long-term funds received $300,000 in net new money, with $1.6 million in net inflows to money market funds. Mutual fund assets under management were $1.67 billion compared with $2.18 billion a year earlier.

AGF Management reported net redemptions of long-term mutual funds were $32.7 million, with gross sales of $222 million. Money market funds saw net redemptions of $3.1 million, on gross sales of $22.9 million.

Mavrix Mutual Funds reported $5 million in net sales, on gross sales of $12.7 million. Total AUM increased by 3.8% to $255.6 million, which marked a year-over-year drop of 53%.

“We continue to see steady net sales in our conservative income oriented mutual fund, the Mavrix Balanced Monthly Pay Fund,” said David Balsdon, CCO, secretary-treasurer and vice-president. “We remain very encouraged by the strong year-to-date performance of the Mavrix Explorer Fund, our primary natural resource mutual fund.”


Steven Lamb