Investors worldwide pulled $171 billion out of mutual funds in the third quarter of 2011, according to statistics released late Thursday by the Investment Company Institute. The bulk of the money was withdrawn from equity funds, which posted $109 billion in net outflows for the quarter. In the Americas and Europe, equity funds experienced net outflows of $69 billion and $60 billion, respectively. 

Balanced/mixed funds and money market funds also posted net outflows for the third quarter, with balanced funds losing $20 billion and money market funds losing $63 billion.  

Bond funds, meanwhile, posted inflows of $10 billion, although still less than the previous quarter’s net inflow of $101 billion, according to ICI. 

For overall asset levels, mutual funds worldwide dropped 10.8% to $23.13 trillion. On a U.S. dollar-denominated basis, equity fund assets decreased 17.8% to $9 trillion, while bond fund assets fell 3.9% to $5.6 trillion. Assets in balanced/mixed funds and money market funds fell 10.8% and 3.8%, respectively, in the third quarter.

More than half (55%) of the worldwide assets were in the Americas, 32% were in Europe and 13% were in Africa and the Asia-Pacific region.

The statistics, compiled quarterly on behalf of the International Investment Funds Association, contain data from 45 countries.

Margarida Correia writes for Bank Investment Consultant.