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Actively Managed ETF Nears Turning Point


The actively managed exchange traded fund space only makes up a sliver of the overall fund industry, but with prominent money managers stepping up to the plate, active ETFs could gain wider recognition.

“While nascent today, we think active ETFs will grow,” Bob Deutsch, head of JPMorgan Asset Management’s new ETF business, said in a Financial Times article. “A couple of years ago, there were questions on a lot of people’s minds about active ETFs because it was an idea, and now there are a number of active ETFs in the marketplace and it is more than an idea.”

JPMorgan recently filed with the SEC to launch a passive global equity fund and plans on adding active ETFs. [JPMorgan Eyes ‘Smart-Beta’ Developed Global ETF]

“Our emphasis is on bringing our active capability to the market,” Deutsch added.

Fidelity Investments also launched a suite of sector ETFs last month, but the provider also filed with the SEC to launch active ETFs. [Fidelity Cleared to Launch Active ETFs: Report]

Additionally, Franklin Templeton came out with its first ETF, the actively managed Franklin Short Duration U.S. Government ETF (FTSD) earlier this month. [Franklin Templeton Enters ETF Arena]

The fund providers, though, are holding back on active equity offerings, given current regulations that require daily disclosure rules and the potential for front-running the ETFs. Chuck Freadhoff, a spokesman for American Funds, points to transparency requirements as a major hurdle to their own active ETF line.

“We are looking at ETFs, but our concern remains the whole issue of transparency,” Freadhoff said in the article. “An ETF where an investor can see through to the underlying holdings, we feel, would be detrimental to our existing shareholders.”

Nevertheless, some money managers have proposed alternative active ETF structures to help issuers protect their secret sauce. T. Rowe Price, BlackRock, State Street Global Advisors, Eaton Vance and Vanguard have offered new proposals to the SEC. [Non-Transparent Active ETFs are not a Slam-Dunk]

ETF market observers also point out that mutual fund providers could begin to create ETF clones of popular fund strategies, like the PIMCO Total Return ETF (BOND) , in an attempt to break into the ETF market.

There are currently 67 actively managed U.S.-listed ETFs on the market, with $14.7 billion in assets under management, according to XTF data.

For more information on active ETFs, visit our actively managed ETFs category.

Max Chen contributed to this article.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.