Analysis of share registry data indicates the 44 per cent growth in the two years to the end of 2015 has been mostly been driven by SMSFs and advised retail investors.
Vanguard and Tria Investment Partners analysed share registry data across five main groups including advised retail investors, unadvised retail investors, advised SMSFs, unadvised SMSFs and institutional investors, in order to analyse ETF use.
The data showed that advised SMSFs increased their ETF holdings by 205 per cent to $2.6 billion over the two-year period, while advised retail investors increased their ETF holdings by 91 per cent to $6.1 billion.
"Collectively, advised SMSFs and advised retail investors accounted for nearly half of the $18.2 billion in ETF funds under management by the end of last year," said Vanguard.
"Despite volatility and investor uncertainty characterising markets so far in 2016, Australian ETF FUM grew by 2.2 per cent from the end of 2015 to 31 April 2016, indicating enduring investor recognition of the benefits ETFs provide throughout market cycles."
The research showed SMSFs continue to be biased to the home market, however, with Australian shares ETFs making up 51 per cent of their ETF holdings.
For listed property, levels were similar across different investor types. Unadvised SMSFs held the most at eight per cent of ETF holdings.
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