ETF flows rebound in May

By Mark Burgess | June 2, 2020 | Last updated on November 29, 2023
2 min read

Canadian ETFs gathered $2.4 billion in assets last month, with international equity funds leading the rebound from a slow April.

More than $1 billion flowed into international equity ETFs in May, according to a report from National Bank of Canada. In total, equity funds accounted for $1.9 billion of the $2.4 billion inflow.

Factor ETFs for quality, momentum and low volatility were all popular last month, the report said. Emerging market funds suffered, however, amid renewed U.S.-China trade tensions and uncertainty caused by the spread of Covid-19.

In the Canadian equity space, large-cap funds “dominated” with interest returning to the financial and energy sectors amid signs of recovery, National Bank said.

Canadian real estate sector ETFs saw outflows due to the “bleak” outlook for office and retail REITs, and a loss of revenue from pandemic lockdowns.

After two months of redemptions, fixed income funds gained $189 million in May. Aggregate bond products took in $230 million, the report said, while inflows into high-interest savings funds — such as the Purpose High Interest Savings ETF and the CI First Asset High Interest Savings ETF — accelerated, totalling $387 million.

April flows of $392 million into gold ETFs were the second largest in history (after $614 million in November 2011). May’s totals didn’t quite keep pace, but $246 million was good enough for the third-best month on record, the report said.

The TD International Equity Index ETF saw the largest gains last month, taking in $699 million, followed by the BMO S&P 500 Index ETF ($293 million) and the iShares Core Canadian Universe Bond Index ETF ($247 million).

Mark Burgess headshot

Mark Burgess

Mark has been the managing editor of since 2017. He has been covering business and politics for more than a decade. Email him at