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Dusit Panyakhom / 123RF

Mutual funds had another strong sales month in December, but ETFs took the crown for 2020, according to new data from the Investment Funds Institute of Canada (IFIC).

In December, mutual funds recorded $7.3 billion in net sales, outpacing ETFs, which had $3.9 billion in monthly net sales.

Yet for 2020, ETFs recorded $41.5 billion in net sales, compared with just under $31 billion for mutual funds.

Both segments of the industry saw sales rise year over year.

For mutual funds, net sales almost doubled last year, jumping from $16.9 billion in 2019 to $30.95 billion in 2020.

ETF net sales were also up year over year, climbing from $27.96 billion to $41.46 billion.

Equity ETFs led the way, accounting for $23.8 billion in annual net sales, up from $10.2 billion in the previous year.

Bond ETFs ranked second with $11.1 billion in net sales for 2020, down slightly from $12.1 billion in 2019.

The picture was somewhat different among mutual funds, where bond funds were the strongest segment again in 2020, accounting for almost half of annual net sales ($15.3 billion, down from $18.9 billion the previous year).

Equity mutual funds ranked second in 2020 with $6.7 billion in net sales, but this was a sharp turnaround from the previous year, when equity funds saw $13.8 billion in net redemptions.

Alongside the increase in sales, fund assets also gained ground in 2020.

Mutual funds finished the year at $1.78 trillion in total assets.

Assets rose by $37.6 billion, or 2.2%, in December. For the full year, assets were up by $153.3 billion, a 9.4% gain.

ETFs ended 2020 with $257.3 billion in assets, up from $205.1 billion at the start of the year — a jump of over 25%.

In December, ETF assets were up by $7.2 billion, or 2.9%, from the previous month.