Despite this massive amount of money, there's been a lot of change among investment management companies over the past year. After lagging significantly behind SSgA (State Street Global Advisors, the management company responsible for bringing you SPDR ETFs) over the past few years, Vanguard is now poised to take the #2 spot in the very near future. Perhaps this is in small part to Warren Buffett's recent endorsement of the company's funds. But I suspect a strong combination of products in most market segments, extremely competitive costs, and continued growth in awareness about the merits of passive index investing (and questions surrounding the value of active management) have lead to the solid inflows. While solid market performance since the great recession have naturally driven an increase in assets under management, some ETF companies have seen stagnant growth during this time.
What about the largest mutual fund sponsors?
You'll also notice Dimensional Fund Advisors on this list with $243 billion in assets under management. DFA is famous for their value funds which offer close alignment with Fama-French Factors that are difficult to obtain through other fund families.
Does fund sponsor size really matter?
Ultimately, it's not ideal to have a fund shut down on you. But many of the smaller players across both product types offer funds with healthy AUM and interesting investing strategies you may not be able to get anywhere else. I'm intrigued with equal-weighting, for example, and although Guggenheim isn't among the biggest players in ETFs, many of their equal weight products are plenty big enough with healthy trading volume. The Guggenheim S&P 500 Equal Weight ETF has nearly $9 billion in AUM and trades about 800k shares daily. To me it really makes the most sense to evaluate your investment options at the individual fund level. Some of the smaller guys have 2-3 big funds instead of dozens, but are certainly worth a look. It's more interesting than anything else to have a feel for the industry landscape.