Canadian ETF Providers

The Canadian ETFs industry continues to see its ranks rise – with Desjardins recently filing for the launch of their own offering, AGF launching in late January, and Manulife not far down the line…

Industry AUM rose to a record high of CAD 113.7 Billion as at December 31, 2016, corresponding to an overall increase of CAD 24 Billion for the year as as a whole.

The overall ETF offering continues to expand in several directions, increasingly on the “smart beta”, and active management front, as purely passive has largely been spoken for. The industry now provides well over 500 ETFs solutions, with recent additions including co-branded/managed solutions from Dynamic iShares, Mackenzie’s maximum diversification ETFs using TOBAM indices, and currency management strategies from Horizons ETFs.

As the industry already nears CAD 120 Billion of AUM as at mid-February 2017, the natural tailwinds of CRM2 and other regulatory initiatives (trailer fee ban?) combined with rising awareness of the deleterious effect of excessive fees, growth should ramp up further as the year unfolds. The fact that several new, or recent comers are joining its ranks, with the benefit of in-house distribution should, all else equal reinforce the pace and outcome.

The following provides a snapshot of Canada’s current ETF providers:



Managed by BlackRock Asset Management Canada Limited, iShares commands some 46% of Canadian ETF industry assets as at Dec 31, 2016, or $53.4 Billion of assets overall.

iShares is a global leader in exchange-traded funds (ETFs), with more than a decade of expertise and commitment to individual and institutional investors of all sizes. With over 700 funds globally across multiple asset classes and strategies and more than US$1 trillion in assets under management as of December 31, 2016, iShares helps clients around the world build the core of their portfolios, meet specific investment goals and implement market views.


BMO Exchange Traded Funds

with $34.1 Billion of ETF assets under management as of Dec 31, 2016, BMO ETFs is Canada’s second largest ETF provider, and has consistently captured the largest share of new AUM entering the ETF product line-up. BMO ETFs are managed and administered by BMO Asset Management Inc., a wholly owned, indirect subsidiary of the Bank of Montreal.

Vanguard ETFs

Vanguard ETFs

The Vanguard Group, Inc. is one of the world’s largest investment management companies and a leading provider of company-sponsored retirement plan services.

Vanguard manages USD 3.9 trillion in global assets, including over USD 600 billion in global ETF assets. Vanguard has offices in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and Asia. The firm offers more than 360 funds, including ETFs, to its more than 20 million investors worldwide. In Canada, Vanguard’s AUM continues to grow rapidly, with AUM nearing the CAD 10.0 Billion mark as at Jan 31, 2017, across 29 ETFs. Most recently, Vanguard launched 4 additional Fixed Income ETFs.

Horizons Exchange Traded Funds

Horizons Exchange Traded Funds

Is Canada’s fourth largest provider, with CAD 6.3 Billion of AUM as of Dec 31, 2016. Initially known for its 2X leveraged ETFs, Horizons has broadened its offering to include actively managed ETFs, inverse ETFs, and Covered Call ETFs. Mirae Asset Management of South Korea became Horizons’ majority shareholder back in late 2011. The firm recently marked its 10th anniversary, coinciding with the 5th anniversary of Mirae’s investment. In addition, the firm announced in late 2016 that its Advisor’s Series ETFs would be converted into Common Class Units by the end of April 2017.

PowerShares ETFs

PowerShares ETFs

is Leading the Intelligent ETF Revolution™ through its family of more than 140 ETFs across the globe. Invesco PowerShares focuses on offering value-added and innovative ETFs, starting with the inception of its first two offerings in May 2003. In Canada, Invesco PowerShares ETFs AUM exceeded $ 3.1 billion as at Dec 31, 2016, across an offering of 32 ETFs.


First Asset

First Asset | Exchange Traded Funds – acquired in late 2015 by CI Investments – offer leading edge investment strategies striving for superior risk adjusted returns. The firm believes ETFs to be an essential tool in the construction of modern portfolios along with individual stocks, bonds, mutual funds and closed-end funds.

AUM as at Dec 31, 2016: $2.5 Billion. First Asset currently operates as a subsidiary of CI.



RBC GAM ETFs – are managed by RBC Global Asset Management (RBC GAM), the asset management division of Royal Bank of Canada (RBC). RBC GAM is a provider of global investment management services and solutions to individual, high net worth and institutional investors through exchange-traded funds, mutual funds, pooled funds, hedge funds, segregated accounts and specialty investment strategies.

AUM as at Dec 31, 2016: $ 2.2 Billion, across 35 ETFs overall, some of which providing CAD Hedged, respectively USD traded versions of one another. The firm’s most rapidly growing ETF of late is its entry into the Actively Managed Pref sphere -RPF, whose AUM has gone from CAD 7MM last September to CAD 244 MM currently (mid-Feb 2017)


Purpose Investments

Purpose Investments marks its CEO and Founder Som Seif’s return to the ETF space, after the early 2012 sale of Claymore Investments to BlackRock’s iShares.

AuM as at Dec 31, 2016 totalled CAD 1.3 Billion.

Aside from pursuing an actively/quantitatively managed “intelligent investing” framework for its Funds, Purpose aimed to innovate by introducing the “Corporate Class” concept mutual funds investors are familiar with to CDN ETFs. The firm’s investment solutions are available in ETFs and Mutual Funds formats. (Note: the Liberal Government’s recently released budget – Mar 2016 – has announced the elimination of the Corporate Class tax advantage effective September 2016).


First Trust Portfolios Canada

FT Portfolios Canada Co is a privately owned company and an affiliate of First Trust Portfolios L.P. and First Trust Advisors L.P. (collectively “First Trust), a Chicago-based investment manager.

FT Portfolios Canada AUM stood at CAD 390MM as at Dec 31, 2016.

Questrade Canada

Questrade is the closest equivalent (aside from BMO) to the Charles Schwab model that Canada has, with the firm offering discount brokerage services, its own stable of ETFs, as well as a ROBO Advisor service. One of its ETF rounds things off further by providing access to what in effect can be looked upon as an ETF strategist. AUM stood at CAD 48MM as at Dec 31, 2016.

Auspice Capital

AUM for Auspice stood at CAD 29.5 MM as at Dec 31, 2016. with the firm’s Canadian Crude ETF (CCX) joined in October by a Natural Gas ETF.

Lysander Funds

Lysander’s Actively Managed Preferred Share ETF (PR) had AUM of CAD 45.2MM as at Dec 31, 2016.

Hamilton Capital Partners

Hamilton Capital’s initial foray into the world of ETF is its Global Bank ETF, which is actively managed. HBG had AUM of CAD 29.9MM as at Dec 31, 2016. A Global Financial Yield ETF was launched this February.