Interactive Investor

Top 10 most-purchased ETFs in March 2021

6th April 2021 16:59

Tom Bailey from interactive investor

Investors continued to buy iShares Global Clean Energy ETF, despite liquidity concerns. 

Exchange-traded fund (ETF) investors seemed to give up on precious metals in March, according to data showing fund purchases among interactive investor customers.

The latest list of the top 10 most-bought ETFs on the platform in March included no precious metals-focused ETFs or exchange-traded commodities (ETCs) for the first time in months. In contrast, in February the WisdomTree Physical Silver ETC (LSE:PHAG), iShares Physical Silver ETC (LSE: SSLN) and iShares Physical Gold ETC (LSE: SGLN) all made an appearance on the most-purchased list.  

As we noted a few weeks ago, the performance of gold ETFs has been disappointing so far in 2021, especially when compared to 2020. With long-term bond yields in both the US and UK picking up on the back of the expected economic recovery, gold has become relatively less attractive. Meanwhile, the previous demand for silver was likely fuelled by social media “meme stock” style trading. Interest in this, at least when it comes to silver, seems to have dissipated in March.

In terms of the ETFs investors were buying, investors appear to be getting bullish on US stocks again. The WisdomTree NASDAQ 100 3x Daily Leveraged ETF (LSE: QQQ3) entered the ranking, securing its place as the seventh most-bought ETF. Leveraged ETFs give the investor multiple times the return of the index. In this case, the ETF would give the investor triple the return of the Nasdaq 100 index. While this means potentially large returns, it also means potentially large losses.

Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (LSE: VUSD) also rose in the rankings by four places, making it the fourth most-bought ETF in March.

There was also a pick up in global ETFs, with both the iShares Core MSCI World ETF (LSE: IWDA) and the Vanguard FTSE All-World ETF (LSE: VWRL) entering the top 10.  

Interest for UK equities also remained steady. The iShares Core FTSE 100 ETF (LSE: ISF) kept its place as the second most-bought ETF. Meanwhile, the Vanguard FTSE 100 ETF (LSE: VUKE) rose by three places, making it the third most-purchased ETF. Demand for the WisdomTree FTSE 100 3x Daily Leveraged ETF (LSE: 3UKL) was also strong. With the UK’s vaccine roll-out going relatively well and Brexit largely concluded, investors have grown increasingly bullish on UK stocks in recent months.

When it came to thematic ETFs, investors continued to favour the iShares Global Clean Energy ETF (LSE: INRG). The ETF managed to keep up its long streak of being the platform’s most-purchased ETF, despite potential concerns about its liquidity. Interactive investor has put the ETF under formal review.

Elsewhere, the Invesco Elwood Global Blockchain ETF (LSE: BCHN) fell by seven places, suggesting a cooling of enthusiasm for the blockchain and bitcoin theme this ETF captures.

Top 10 most-purchased ETFs in March 2021

  ETF Change from November One-year performance to 6 April (%) Three-year performance to 6 April (%)
1 iShares Global Clean Energy ETF No change 133.7 163.8
2 iShares Core FTSE 100 ETF No change 28.4 5.1
3 Vanguard FTSE 100 ETF 3 28.4 5
4 Vanguard S&P 500 ETF 4 44.4 60.2
5 WisdomTree FTSE 100 3x Daily 2 81.3 -27.7
6 Vanguard FTSE 250 UCITS ETF 4 56.6 19
7 WisdomTree NASDAQ 100 3x Daily Leverage ETF new entry 300.6 303.6
8 Vanguard FTSE All-World UCITS ETF new entry 44.1 42.9
9 iShares Core MSCI World ETF new entry 44.1 46.1
10 Invesco Elwood Global Blockchain ETF -7 206.2  

Source: interactive investor. Note: the top 10 is based on the number of “buys” during the month of March.

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