The exchange traded fund industry is breaking new records as global assets surpass the $2 trillion mark.

According to BlackRock, ETF assets hit $2.01 trillion on January 18, reports Chris Flood for Financial Times. This comes during the January month when ETFs historically witness outflows. [ETFs Attract Record Annual Inflows]

Dodd Kittsley, global head of ETP research at BlackRock, highlights the $2 trillion mark as a historic milestone as ETFs take on worldwide interest and expand into all asset classes.

“More investors are discovering that ETFs can play important roles in their portfolios in any type of market conditions,” Kittsley said in the article. “We saw this clearly in 2012 when the ETF industry was able to gather inflows of $265.3bn in spite of last year’s challenging market conditions which were dominated by ‘risk-on, risk-off’ trading patterns.”

Larry Fink, chief executive of BlackRock,believes that strategies combining ETFs and alternatives in a “barbell” approach are gaining momentum. Particularly, Fink expects to see a shift into equities as a major theme for 2013, citing large fixed-income investors who recently shifted $6.5 billion into equities, mostly in index-based funds. However, current flows indicate that investors are only taking a tactical approach, not a full scale commitment to equities.

Additionally, Kittsley pointed out with the new U.S. dividend taxes in place, investors have a clear outlook on dividend investments. Consequently, dividend-focused equity ETFs gathered about $1 billion in January after experiencing outflows in December.

For more information on ETF asset flows, visit our ETF performance reports category.

Max Chen contributed to this article.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, 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.