U.S. investors have warmed to exchange-traded funds in a big way over the past five years and their growing familiarity with the expanding variety of products available helped pushed the total value of U.S. ETF assets over the $1 trillion mark last month, according to a report from State Street Global Advisors.In February alone, investment into these funds grew 3.5%, or $34.9 billion, and -- perhaps more telling -- investors added more than $6 billion to ETFs than they withdrew, a clear sign that many financial advisers and broker-dealers recognize that the growing variety of ETFs and the tax efficiency of these relatively new investment vehicles make them a viable alternative to mutual funds, annuities and other traditional investment products.

"The $1 trillion-dollar benchmark is certainly significant and notable," said Tom Anderson, global head of ETF strategy and research at State Street Global Advisors. "Investors, financial advisers and, especially, broker-dealers are becoming much more comfortable with ETFs and we see no reason to expect this recent growth rate to slow."

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