Fixed-income exchange-traded funds have made big strides in asset gathering over the past five years, rising from $53.7 billion in 2008 to $229.1 billion by March of 2013, according to Lipper.

At the top of the heap sit high-yield funds with $32.5 billion in assets under management, followed by intermediate investment grade debt funds ($31.6 billion), inflation-protected bond funds ($28.3 billion), corporate debt funds BBB-rated ($26.8 billion) and rounding out the top five, flexible income funds ($15.1 billion).

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