Charles Schwab (NYSE: SCHW), the largest discount broker, continues to solidify itself as a major player in the exchange traded funds space as ETF assets custodied at Schwab surged to $246 billion in the first quarter, a 24% year-over-year increase.
Schwab’s registered investment advisor (RIA) clients accounted for 54% of the $10.7 billion in ETF assets that flowed to the firm in the first quarter, according to the firm’s latest ETF Investor Snapshot released last Friday. That $10.7 billion of first-quarter flows was more than double the $4.8 billion in ETF assets hauled in by Schwab in the first quarter of last year. [Schwab Keeps Gaining ETF Assets]
Schwab clients kept with a prominent theme in the first three months of the year: Heavy allocations to international equity ETFs. Those funds accounted 47% of the first-quarter ETF inflows to Schwab while U.S. equity and U.S. bond funds accounted for 22% and 14%, respectively, of ETF inflows to Schwab.
Led by the WisdomTree Europe Hedged Equity Fund (NYSEArca: HEDJ) and the Deutsche X-trackers MSCI EAFE Hedged Equity ETF (NYSEArca: DBEF), six of this year’s top 10 asset-gathering ETFs are international equity funds. Schwab’s own Schwab Emerging Markets Equity ETF (NYSEArca: SCHE) has hauled in over $207 million in new assets this year while the Schwab International Equity ETF (NYSEArca: SCHF) has added over $643 million in new assets.
In the first quarter, California-based Schwab expanded its Schwab ETF OneSource lineup of commission-free exchange traded funds to nearly 200 offerings. OneSource, the largest commission-free ETF platform on the market today, has been a significant driver of ETF asset growth for Schwab. The new additions to OneSource come courtesy of five of the platforms current providers, Direxion, PowerShares, ProShares, State Street and WisdomTree.[Schwab Bolsters OneSource Lineup]