ETF Industry Could Expand Almost Threefold by 2021

The U.S. exchange traded fund industry has amassed over $2.3 trillion in assets under management, and this may be only the beginning.

According to a recent PwC survey of more than 60 firms, global ETF assets are likely heading to $8.2 trillion, with the U.S. portion going up to at least $6.2 trillion by 2021.

“As investors get further educated on the product and how to use it and find different ways to use it, it’s only going to help growth. There’s a reasonable possibility those projections will be achieved,” Bill Donahue, managing director with PwC’s Asset Management Assurance Practice, told CNBC. “A number of folks we talked to were even more bullish on the growth opportunities.”

While the $13.2 trillion mutual fund industry still dwarfs ETFs in size, traditional open-end funds are bleeding assets. Mutual funds have seen a 3.6% decline in assets under management over the past 12 months, whereas ETFs have grown 4.1% over the same period.

Related: Institutional Investors to Support ETF Industry Growth

Contributing the shrinking mutual fund industry and ongoing ETF growth, low costs is seen as a major investment factor – ETF fees typically come in at a fraction of what actively managed funds are charging, along with tax efficiencies and robust liquidity.