In 2021, 14 ETFs have gained 20 per cent or more and the industry reached a new record high.

The latest data out of BetaShares shows that as of May 31 the market capitalisation of all ASX ETFs hit $111.7 billion.

$47.7 billion of this has came in the preceding 12 months, representing the highest value increase in the industry’s history.

BetaShares also found that the number of investors using ETFs rose 58 per cent in 2020 and of these, two thirds were under 40. A further 190,000 are expected to invest in ETFs for the first time over the next 12 months.

BetaShares and other fund managers are reaping the benefits with one other being VanEck which revealed yesterday its growth of funds under management in ETFs rose 76 per cent in the 12 months to 31 May.

And VanEck’s Asia Pacific CEO Arian Neiron also tips more growth to come, particularly in some of the more unique ETFs.

“Investors continue to be attracted to ETFs due to their liquidity advantages, transparency and lower costs,” he said.

“As the industry has grown, the range of exchange traded products (ETPs) has increased from simple market capitalisation index-tracking ETFs to more complex managed funds.”


The Top performing ASX ETF

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Interestingly, one of the more popular options has been global equities both from a cash inflow perspective but also in investor surveys – BetaShares estimates one in five investors said they were looking for global equities ETFs.

This has been borne out in the list of top performing ASX ETFs in 2021 with almost all of them specialising in global equities.

The best was BetaShares’ Geared US Equities (ASX:GGUS) which is up 38 per cent this year capping off a spectacular two and a half years in which it nearly tripled.

It is called “geared”, because it combining equity investors’ money with debt investors’ and then invests in the top 500 shares listed in the US by market capitalisation.

It has consequently ridden off the back of the Wall Street’s performance since COVID-19 which has been better then the Australian bourse.

BetaShares Geared US Equities (ASX:GGUS) share price chart


Other top performing ASX ETFs

The US markets were particularly well performing with no less than 5 others specialising in the US and almost all of the rest having some American flavour in them.

A couple of notable ETFs included BetaShares’ Global Energy (ASX:FUEL) ETF which invests in the energy sector offering exposure to giants including Exxon, Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell and BP.

FUEL’s performance in 2021 comes off the back of both the recovery in oil prices from COVID-19 lows as well as many of the big energy names gradually embracing renewable technology.

Another is Van Eck’s International REIT (ASX:REIT), that invests in real estate owners globally including entire companies as well as Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) which operate similarly to ETFs except investing in private properties.

Its top holdings include in Prologis (NYSE:PLD) which is focused on logistics real estate as well as self storage focused investor Public Storage (NYSE:PSA) and data centre focused investor Digital Realty (NYSE:DLR).