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Calamos Files To Offer Active ETFs

Olly Ludwig

Calamos Investments, a mutual fund company that developed a reputation for its focus on convertible securities, filed regulatory paperwork to gain permission to market actively managed exchange-traded funds, with plans for an initial fund targeting mid- and large-cap companies the fund manager deems to have promising growth prospects.

The Calamos Focus Growth ETF would be the first of many ETFs, as the “exemptive relief” filing contemplates a range of future funds focused on domestic and international equities as well as fixed income and even on mortgage- or asset-backed securities.

Calamos is the latest of a long list of reputed mutual fund companies that have requested permission from the Securities and Exchange Commission to market ETFs. Still, it’s not clear exactly how these companies plan to start offering ETFs without undermining their existing fund franchises , and, indeed many of the companies that have filed for exemptive relief haven’t yet made any moves.

Of course, some have, or have started to, such as Pimco or Fidelity.

Pimco launched the Pimco Total Return ETF (BOND) on March 1, 2012, and the fund has grown to become a $4.5 billion security in just over a year.

Fidelity meanwhile has put two active funds into registration , though it’s not clear when the Fidelity Mortgage Securities ETF and the Fidelity Corporate Bond Exchange Traded Fund might actually launch.

The exemptive relief that Naperville, Ill.-based Calamos is requesting amounts to obtaining exceptions to some parts of the Investment Company Act of 1940.  It’s the first step toward offering actual ETFs and it can take a year or more between the time the exemptive relief petition is filed and the time a company’s initial funds come to market.


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