BlackRock Move Sends Record $1.4 Billion to Inflation-Hedged ETF

(Bloomberg) — A tweak to BlackRock Inc.’s model portfolios has triggered a record inflow for the biggest exchange-traded fund protecting investors from inflation.

The $30.7 billion iShares TIPS Bond ETF (ticker TIP) absorbed nearly $1.4 billion on Friday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The same day, $1.3 billion was pulled from the $16.3 billion iShares U.S. Treasury Bond ETF (GOVT) — also the most-ever.

In an emailed statement, BlackRock confirmed it recently made some asset allocation changes to reposition its model portfolios for inflation protection and adjusting sector exposures.

“Following this rebalance, some ETFs included in the model portfolios experienced inflows and outflows, driven by advisors who choose to manage and trade their clients’ portfolios in line with BlackRock’s models,” it said.

For the industry, it’s a stark reminder of the growing power wielded by models, off-the-shelf investment strategies usually comprised of bundles of ETFs. They’re a cheap and easy way to invest that’s proving hugely popular with both advisers and their clients, so much so that they now contain trillions of dollars. That raises the risk of unexpected moves if a major strategy gets tweaked.

Read more: Wall Street Creates $3 Trillion Whale in Model Portfolio Boom

Meanwhile, the shift is also a reflection of the inflationary debate currently shaping markets. As concern over a coronavirus resurgence casts a cloud over the global economic outlook, Treasuries have climbed. U.S. real yields plunged to a record low on Monday, even as a report this week is forecast to show the economy grew at an annualized 8.5% pace in the second quarter.

Although breakeven inflation expectations have stalled out, price pressures are poised to build from here as the Federal Reserve stays sidelined, according to Mizuho International Plc.

“U.S. breakevens are going to go quite a bit higher,” said Peter Chatwell, Mizuho’s head of multi-asset strategy. “The market continues to underestimate how much the Fed’s reaction function has changed, and the amount of inflation they will be forced to tolerate to avoid derailing the recovery.”

Read: U.S. Real Yields Fall to Record Low Amid Growth Concerns

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William Murphy

William Murphy

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