This type of ETF is seeing near-record inflows — but will it keep paying dividends?

Finance

It’s a type of ETF seeing near-record inflows.

New data shows dividend exchange-traded funds totaled almost $50 billion in fresh money in the first half of 2022, according to Todd Rosenbluth of VettaF, a financial services company.

“We recently did a survey of advisors at VettaFi, and dividend strategies were most popular in terms of getting income,” the company’s head of research told CNBC’s “ETF Edge” on Wednesday. “Higher than corporate bonds, higher than Treasurys, higher than more narrowly focused sectors like real estate.”

Both dividend and ultrashort-bond ETFs are experiencing significant market activity due to intensifying concerns of a serious economic downturn and the increasing appeal of traditionally safer investments. These funds are considered big winners in the year’s first half because investors were on the hunt for gains and safety.

Rosenbluth expects strong demand for dividend and ultrashort-bond ETFs in the second half, as well, citing a “hawkish” Federal Reserve, high equity market volatility and investors on the lookout for “relatively safe alternatives.”

“Advisors and institutional investors are seeking strategies beyond traditional core equity and bond funds this year,” he told CNBC.

Will Rhind, founder and CEO of GraniteShares, said his business is seeing people prioritize cash while facing a potential recession. 

“One of the main themes in equity markets this year is people getting out of growth names that, you know, typically don’t pay much of a dividend — if anything at all — and into cash-yielding names,” Rhind said.

More dividend stocks can equate to more value plays, he added.

Investment advisors are looking to dividend strategies as a form of income, according to Rosenbluth. His main reason: Ultrashort-bond “cash-like strategies” remain insensitive to fixed income interest rates over short periods of time.

“We’re seeing this [ultrashort-bond ETF] asset base grow significantly, and it’s another one of those trends we’re watching here at VettaFi,” he said.

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