ETF investors continued to favour cash in July

By Mark Burgess | August 2, 2023 | Last updated on August 2, 2023
2 min read
Small white piggy bank sitting on a layer of Canadian twenties bills with a dollar coin (loonie) dropping inside.
© Sorin Alb / 123RF Stock Photo

Fixed-income products led ETF flows again in July, with cash funds continuing to gather the lion’s share, even as equity markets rebounded.

Nearly $3 billion flowed into Canadian ETFs last month, according to National Bank Financial. Fixed-income funds brought in $1.9 billion, compared to $940 million for equity funds.

High-interest savings account ETFs and money market funds led the inflows again with $875 million. CI Global Asset Management and Horizons ETFs Management (Canada) Inc.’s savings account ETFs were among the leaders, each bringing in more than $200 million, but newer cash management and money market funds from Purpose Investments Inc., Horizons and Guardian Capital LP also performed well.

“The ‘money market’ ETF category has exploded with new products investing in short-term securities such as T-bills and commercial paper,” the report said, pointing to nine new products this year. “It’s possible this wave of launches was spurred by a newly fertile rate environment combined with a regulatory review of banks offering the deposits that underlie the super-popular cash alternative ETFs.”

Another strong month brought year-to-date flows for “cash-like” funds to $6.5 billion.

The other major fixed-income category to see inflows was Canadian corporate bonds, with the BMO Ultra Short-Term Bond ETF bringing in $446 million.

The inflow leader in July was the iShares ESG Aware MSCI Emerging Markets ETF, which National Bank said received several institutional-sized orders for a total of $628 million.

On the equity side, Canadian ETFs beat other regions with $487 million in inflows while U.S. ETFs saw redemptions. U.S. equal-weighted products performed better than market cap-weighted ones, National Bank said, as investors looked to “avoid concentration in the mega-cap technology names.”

July’s inflows brought year-to-date inflows to $22.7 billion.

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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