Vanguard Group is the top asset gatherer in exchange traded funds this year as the firm continues to gain ground on larger rivals BlackRock and State Street Global Advisors.

Vanguard has raked in about $30.4 billion of ETF inflows in 2011, followed by BlackRock’s iShares with $22.7 billion and State Street with $13.6 billion, according to data from the National Stock Exchange through the end of October.

In terms of ETF asset under management, BlackRock remains top dog with $456.7 billion compared with $269.6 billion for State Street and $170.5 billion for Vanguard.

“In the year ahead, we expect that ETFs will continue to gain market share from mutual funds and individual securities, reflecting greater investor awareness of ETFs as an investment choice, and appreciation of prospective advantages that ETFs offer,” says Tom Graves, S&P Capital IQ equity analyst. “We think that growth in the ETF market adds to pressure on mutual fund companies and other financial service companies to offer ETF products.”

Overall, exchange traded funds and notes saw net inflows of nearly $24 billion last month, according to NSX data. [Emerging Market, High-Yield Bond ETFs Lead October Inflows]

“The three top ETF providers had a combined market share, at Oct. 31, of about 84%,” S&P’s Graves wrote in a note. “BlackRock was at a leading 43%, followed by State Street (25%) and Vanguard (16%). However, despite the concentration at the top of the asset size rankings, we have seen newer ETF providers make significant inroads, helped by innovative products, strong distribution capabilities and/or lower costs.”

Indeed, ProShares has seen inflows of $7.1 billion so far this year, trailed slightly by Van Eck with $7 billion. Also, Direxion, WisdomTree Investments and Invesco PowerShares have posted inflows of more than $3 billion year to date.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of John Spence, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.