2023’s Overactive Active ETF Flows Are Mostly a Mirage

Plenty of ink has been spilled about how much money has gone into active ETFs in 2023, and from a pure top-line flows perspective, it’s true. A significant chunk of the $289 billion that has entered U.S.-listed ETFs year to date went into active products — 22%, in fact. And that’s led to plenty of breathless headlines about how 2023 is the “year of the active ETF.”

It makes a nice marketing narrative, but don’t let the big numbers fool you. Most of those flows have gone into fewer than three dozen ETFs, leaving the other 800+ ETFs to fight over the scraps.

Dimensional & JP Morgan Lead in 2023 Active ETF Inflows

As of August 31, FactSet classified 920 ETFs as “actively managed.” That spans products from around 250 issuers, including everything from closet indexed funds to sophisticated laddering and options strategies to straight-up high-conviction stock picking.

From January 1 to August 31, these 920 ETFs saw $62.7 billion in flows. That translates to about 22% of all money going into ETFs in 2023.

To see if I could suss out any patterns, I took a closer look at the 50 actively managed ETFs showing the highest flows over that period. One thing stood out: Of the top 50 ETFs, fully 21 of them were from Dimensional ETFs.

20 Active ETFs with the Largest Inflows YTD

Ticker Name AUM ($ m) YTD Flows ($, m) ER (%)
JEPI JPMorgan Equity Premium Income ETF 29,443.30 11,421.38 0.35
JEPQ J.P. Morgan Nasdaq Equity Premium Income ETF 5,215.65 3,807.58 0.35
DFAC Dimensional U.S. Core Equity 2 ETF 21,676.05 3,022.47 0.17
FBND Fidelity Total Bond ETF 4,683.36 2,034.04 0.25
JAAA Janus Detroit Street Trust Janus Henderson AAA CLO ETF 3,779.06 1,801.67 0.22
DFIC Dimensional International Core Equity 2 ETF 4,072.03 1,710.04 0.23
AVUV Avantis U.S. Small Cap Value ETF 6,814.85 1,617.30 0.25
FIXD First Trust TCW Opportunistic Fixed Income ETF 4,530.88 1,545.47 0.65
PULS PGIM Ultra Short Bond ETF 5,273.82 1,363.99 0.15
DUHP Dimensional US High Profitability ETF 3,053.72 1,301.51 0.21
DFCF Dimensional Core Fixed Income ETF 3,331.66 1,292.70 0.17
CGDV Capital Group Dividend Value ETF 3,028.62 1,279.91 0.33
AVEM Avantis Emerging Markets Equity ETF 3,843.89 1,227.24 0.33
DFAI Dimensional International Core Equity Market ETF 4,026.42 1,053.43 0.18
AVDV Avantis International Small Cap Value ETF 3,448.56 1,040.43 0.36
CGGR Capital Group Growth ETF 2,728.79 1,011.09 0.39
DFEM Dimensional Emerging Markets Core Equity 2 ETF 2,263.67 991.1 0.38
DFIV Dimensional International Value ETF 5,886.17 986.2 0.35
JMBS Janus Henderson Mortgage-Backed Securities ETF 1,775.60 977.2 0.28
AVUS Avantis U.S. Equity ETF 4,672.51 918.5 0.15