Exchange-traded funds have attracted $35 billion so far this year, far less than in previous years, but growth is likely to return at a rapid clip once the recession winds down, according to Strategic Insight. By comparison, investors have withdrawn $49 billion from mutual funds.

Last year, investors placed $176 billion in ETFs. The top-selling ETF category so far this year is gold ETFs, garnering $13 billion in assets, followed by natural resources and government bond ETFs, taking in $8 billion apiece.

“If we do see better capital markets, we believe that the growth to the structure itself is in its very early innings,” Fran Kinniry, a principal in the investment strategy group at Vanguard, told Reuters.

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