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AMLP, MLPA, AMZA: Fund Flows in Top MLP ETFs Surged in 2017

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Top MLP ETFs

The Alerian MLP ETF (AMLP), the First Trust North American Energy Infrastructure Fund (EMLP), the Global X MLP ETF (MLPA), the Infracap MLP ETF (AMZA), and the Global X MLP & Energy Infrastructure ETF (MLPX) are the top five MLP ETFs by assets under management. Total fund flows into these five ETFs in 4Q17 were $1.4 billion, up from $857 million in 3Q17. The five ETFs had total net inflows of $1.3 billion in 4Q16.

The fund flows into the Alerian MLP ETF totaled $602 million in 4Q17, followed by a net inflow of $453 million in EMLP.

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Higher flows in 2017

As the above graph shows, the total fund flows in 2017 in the top five MLP ETFs were the highest in five years. Inflows into the Alerian MLP ETF, the largest MLP ETF by assets under management, totaled ~$2 billion in 2017, up from $1.8 billion in 2016. Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), Enterprise Products Partners (EPD), and Magellan Midstream Partners (MMP) are the top three holdings of AMLP and form ~30% of the ETF.

Inflows into the First Trust North American Energy Infrastructure Fund (EMLP) surged almost 90% to $773 million in 2017 from $408 million in 2016.

Similarly, inflows in the Global X MLP ETF (MLPA) more than tripled from a mere $137 million in 2016 to $473 million in 2017. Fund flows into the Infracap MLP ETF (AMZA) surged from $144 million in 2016 to a massive $553 million in 2017. The Global X MLP & Energy Infrastructure ETF (MLPX) saw inflows rise from $28 million in 2016 to $241 million in 2017.

In the next part, we’ll compare the key characteristics and performance of the selected ETFs.

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