Through the 13F Lens: The ETF Shifting Landscape in Q1 2021

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We love deep diving into 13F holdings to better understand the shifting landscape of ETF ownership amongst the biggest institutional owners. Generally, institutions have 45 days after the end of the quarter to report their holdings. May 15, 2021 marks that day for the first quarter of 2021. In the following analysis we analyze the biggest shifts in ETF ownership as reported between the last two quarters.

Q1 2021 highlighted continued impressive growth in the ETF space as ETF share ownership grew by over 8% in a single quarter. ESG ownership increased by more than 50% of that baseline with a 12%+ increase in ESG shares held. Gold positioning decreased, highlighting the general “risk on” bull-mentality that pervaded into the new year and through most of Q1 and early Q2.

Obviously, 13F data should always be taken with a grain of salt. Institutions tend to pare down assets into quarter end and especially year end to keep their balance sheets looking slim. Also, the standard 45-day lag means that institutions have sufficient time to reposition their portfolios since last reporting publicly.

Here are some more interesting stats for Q1 2021. Any growth numbers are based on the Q4 2020 lookback:

  • 8.84% Increase in number of shares owned
  • 31 billion shares or $2.6 trillion in ETF assets measured
  • 3000+ institutions reporting, at the time of writing some last minute 13F filings were not included.
  • 12.3% increase in ESG shares held to reach $34bn in assets.
  • 6.2% decline in Gold commodity ETFs held bringing total assets to $27bn. GLD dropping 17% of shares held and IAU losing 7% of shares held, quarter over quarter.
  • 7.1% increase in Equity Dividend funds, bringing assets to $83bn. iShares DGRO, Schwab’s SCHD, and iShares DVY seeing the strongest positive growth in shares held.

Largest Institutional Positions and Ownership Change

SPY reigns supreme as the major S&P 500 positioning tool. However, VOO wins in terms of growth in shares held, followed by IVV. VOO and IVV have lower expense ratios than their older sibling, SPY.

Emerging Markets IEMG +10% and VWO +4.9%  growth win out over Developed Markets IEFA, -1.6% and EFA -0.7%.

Ticker

Name

Asset Class

$bn Held

Q4->Q1

1

SPY US

S&P 500 ETF TRUST ETF

Equity

$152.51

1.5%

2

IVV US

iShares Core S&P 500 ETF

Equity

$145.07

9.3%

3

VOO US

Vanguard S&P 500 ETF

Equity

$72.02

20.6%

4

IWM US

iShares Russell 2000 ETF

Equity

$53.11

11.6%

5

IEFA US

BTC iShares Core MSCI EAFE ETF

Equity

$52.07

-1.6%

6

VEA US

Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF

Equity

$51.99

1.7%

7

IEMG US

iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF

Equity

$48.49

10.5%

8

QQQ US

Invesco QQQ Trust Series 1

Equity

$46.54

7.4%

9

VTI US

Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF

Equity

$46.47

1.9%

10

AGG US

iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF

Fixed Income

$42.70

3.6%

11

VWO US

Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF

Equity

$34.78

4.9%

12

LQD US

iShares iBoxx USD Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF

Fixed Income

$32.18

-17.1%

13

VCIT US

Vanguard Intermediate-Term Corporate Bond ETF

Fixed Income

$31.50

9.6%

14

IJR US

iShares Core S&P Small-Cap ETF

Equity

$31.16

3.6%

15

IJH US

iShares Core S&P Mid-Cap ETF

Equity

$31.03

-0.7%

16

IWF US

iShares Russell 1000 Growth ETF

Equity

$30.64

-3.0%

17

VUG US

Vanguard Growth ETF

Equity

$28.69

-2.7%

18

VTV US

Vanguard Value ETF

Equity

$27.43

6.4%

19

BND US

Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF

Fixed Income

$27.20

9.9%

20

EFA US

iShares MSCI EAFE ETF

Equity

$27.05

-0.7%

Largest % Ownership Change in Equity-Focused ETFs with Over $1bn in Notional Held

A large ETF model portfolio shift into IYE was seen in Q1 2021, driving much of the assets into this US Energy sector-focused name. SMH and XRT saw big swings in opposite directions, highlighting the increased need for semiconductors and the decrease in fortunes of retail shopping. XHB homebuilders increase in positioning by end of Q1 is also quite impressive as that bet has paid off handsomely with recent price action.

 

Ticker

Name

Asset Class

$bn Held

Q4->Q1

1

IYE US

iShares U.S. Energy ETF

Equity

$1.34

665.1%

2

FXR US

First Trust Industrials/Producer Durables AlphaDEX Fund

Equity

$1.04

575.3%

3

JPHY US

JPMorgan High Yield Research Enhanced ETF

Equity

$1.35

323.3%

4

EFV US

BTC iShares MSCI EAFE Value ETF

Equity

$7.07

147.2%

5

VTWO US

Vanguard Russell 2000 Index ETF

Equity

$1.00

67.9%

6

RDVY US

First Trust Rising Dividend Achievers ETF

Equity

$1.43

60.8%

7

IJJ US

iShares S&P Mid-Cap 400 Value ETF

Equity

$4.23

56.3%

8

KBE US

SPDR S&P Bank ETF

Equity

$1.33

50.3%

9

RSP US

Invesco S&P 500 Equal Weight ETF

Equity

$10.37

49.2%

10

KRE US

SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF

Equity

$3.36

48.9%

11

XLE US

The Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund

Equity

$9.82

39.6%

12

SUSA US

MSCI USA ESG Select ETF

Equity

$1.17

38.9%

13

EWC US

iShares MSCI Canada ETF

Equity

$2.11

38.3%

14

SMH US

VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF

Equity

$3.03

35.0%

15

ARKK US

ARK Innovation ETF

Equity

$3.92

32.9%

16

XLF US

Financial Select Sector SPDR

Equity

$19.66

32.6%

17

ARKG US

ARK Genomic Revolution ETF

Equity

$1.09

31.5%

18

XRT US

SPDR Retail ETF

Equity

$1.10

-30.3%

19

XSOE US

WisdomTree Emerging Markets ex-State-Owned Enterprises Fund

Equity

$1.84

29.9%

20

XHB US

SPDR Homebuilders ETF

Equity

$1.08

29.1%

Largest % Ownership Change in Fixed Income-Focused ETFs with Over $1bn in Notional Held

The continued inverted yield curve and its ever-steepening slope have investors focused on expectations of increased inflation. We see big share ownership growth in TIPS names like STIP, VTIP and SCHP. High yield was a bit unloved as we saw SHYG and HYG positions pared down. Positioning on the medium-to-longer end of the treasury curve was strong, with names like SPTL, TLT, ITE, IEF increasing.

 

Ticker

Name

Asset Class

$bn Held

Q4->Q1

1

FALN US

iShares Fallen Angels USD Bond ETF

Fixed Income

$1.22

748.5%

2

IUSB US

BTC iShares Core Total USD Bond Market ETF

Fixed Income

$8.06

121.7%

3

SPTL US

SPDR Portfolio Long Term Treasury ETF

Fixed Income

$2.13

84.9%

4

SRLN US

SPDR Blackstone Senior Loan ETF

Fixed Income

$2.04

72.9%

5

STIP US

iShares 0-5 Year TIPS Bond ETF

Fixed Income

$1.92

53.3%

6

BKLN US

Invesco Senior Loan ETF

Fixed Income

$3.19

40.7%

7

SHYG US

iShares 0-5 Year High Yield Corporate Bond ETF

Fixed Income

$1.83

-37.5%

8

SCHP US

Schwab U.S. Tips ETF

Fixed Income

$11.70

27.0%

9

TLT US

BTC iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF

Fixed Income

$6.92

-25.0%

10

MBG US

SPDR Portfolio Mortgage Backed Bond ETF

Fixed Income

$2.89

23.5%

11

IEF US

BTC iShares 7-10 Year Treasury Bond ETF

Fixed Income

$7.90

22.3%

12

VTIP US

Vanguard Short-Term Inflation-Protected Securities Index Fund

Fixed Income

$4.52

19.3%

13

FLOT US

BTC iShares Floating Rate Bond ETF

Fixed Income

$2.38

17.4%

14

LQD US

iShares iBoxx USD Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF

Fixed Income

$32.18

-17.1%

15

FIXD US

First Trust TCW Opportunistic Fixed Income ETF

Fixed Income

$2.26

16.2%

16

ITE US

SPDR Portfolio Intermediate Term Treasury ETF

Fixed Income

$1.78

15.6%

17

VCSH US

Vanguard Short-Term Corporate Bond ETF

Fixed Income

$19.35

14.2%

18

SUB US

iShares Short-Term National Muni Bond ETF

Fixed Income

$1.99

14.2%

19

VTEB US

Vanguard Tax-Exempt Bond ETF

Fixed Income

$6.04

13.9%

20

HYG US

iShares iBoxx USD High Yield Corporate Bond ETF

Fixed Income

$13.32

-13.1%

Largest New ETF Entrants on Holders Filings

New entrants are defined as ETFs that did not show up in Q4 2020 filings but made it to Q1 2021. Not all these names are necessarily new listings. Many names appear to be thematic in nature, TMAT is similar to the innovation-focused ARKK fund, SENT is focused on sentiment analysis through leveraging alternative datasets, maybe like scraping Reddit. Many new entrants are in the growing field of options-embedded strategies that offer structured-product like returns. Fairly recent players here are AllianzIM and CBOE Vest. By definition these ETFs will expire as they come to term and new ETFs will take their place further out in the calendar.

 

Ticker

Name

Asset Class

$bn Held

1

CLDS US

Direxion Daily Cloud Computing Bear 2X Shares

Equity

$1.172

2

PSFF US

Pacer Swan SOS Fund of Funds ETF

Equity

$0.172

3

IMFL US

Invesco International Developed Dynamic Multifactor ETF

Equity

$0.133

4

HCRB US

Hartford Core Bond ETF

Fixed Income

$0.130

5

FUNL US

CornerCap Fundametrics Large-Cap ETF

Equity

$0.097

6

FJAN US

FT Cboe Vest U.S. Equity Buffer ETF – January

Equity

$0.058

7

SENT US

AdvisorShares Alpha DNA Equity Sentiment ETF

Equity

$0.055

8

TMAT US

Main Thematic Innovation ETF

Equity

$0.051

9

JSCP US

JPMorgan Short Duration Core Plus ETF

Fixed Income

$0.050

10

KNG US

FT Cboe Vest S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats Target Income ETF

Equity

$0.049

11

AZBJ US

AllianzIM U.S. Large Cap Buffer20 Jan ETF

Equity

$0.049

12

UMI US

USCF Midstream Energy Income Fund ETF

Equity

$0.044

13

EUCG US

Euclid Capital Growth ETF

Equity

$0.043

14

AZAJ US

AllianzIM U.S. Large Cap Buffer10 Jan ETF

Equity

$0.032

15

ONOF US

Global X Adaptive U.S. Risk Management ETF

Equity

$0.031

16

JEMA US

JPMorgan Emerging Markets Equity Core ETF

Equity

$0.029

17

ISWN US

Amplify BlackSwan ISWN ETF

Equity

$0.029

18

HYMU US

BlackRock High Yield Muni Income Bond ETF

Fixed Income

$0.021

19

KEMX US

KraneShares MSCI Emerging Markets ex China Index ETF

Equity

$0.021

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