U.S. markets closed

Goldman breaking into competitive ETF market with launch of first fund

A Goldman Sachs sign is seen over the company's trading stall on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange, March 21, 2013. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

By Olivia Oran

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs Group Inc said on Monday it was launching its first ever exchange traded fund, as the bank tries to break into the lucrative and highly competitive $3 trillion market for ETFs.

The fund, focused on large U.S. companies, follows a so-called "ActiveBeta" strategy which tries to outperform a traditional market-cap weighted index by looking at factors like volatility and momentum.

Goldman is attempting to enter a market in which BlackRock Inc, State Street and Vanguard together account for about 70 percent of total assets in the global ETF industry. ETFs, which allow investors to gain exposure to a particular group of companies or indexes without owning the underlying stocks or bonds, have gained popularity in recent years because of their low costs and transparency.

The bank is introducing new products as it seeks to grow revenue in its investment management division. Investment management is becoming more important to Goldman and other Wall Street banks amid regulatory pressures that have crimped growth in traditional profit drivers like trading.

Goldman last year announced that senior trading executive Michael Crinieri would head its ETF strategy globally.

Goldman will launch other ActiveBeta funds in the coming months, which will focus on small cap companies, international and emerging markets, Europe and Japan. It will also launch several hedge-fund themed funds called "liquid alternatives."

(Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)