Active ETFs are definitely, definitely hitting their stride now. Definitely.
We've heard that before, repeatedly. But it seems like asset managers have moved beyond the kicking-tires (in the case of some, read procrastination) stage to filing, marketing and launching products under the active style, at least according to Barron's
Brendan Conway notes that there are currently only 60 or so actively managed ETFs, and only about a quarter of them have more than $100 million in assets. There's a total of $14.2 billion, or less than one percent of the ETF industry, invested in actively managed ETFs, he writes.
The more notable early adopters include Pimco's
Pimco Total Return (ticker: BOND), the (cheaper) ETF version of Bill Gross's famous bond strategy, which was 2012's most successful ETF launch, amassing $4.3 billion in assets in its first year.
Conway also notes that other big mutual-fund firms, including Fidelity Investments, T. Rowe Price (TROW), and Franklin Resources (BEN), have filed to launch actively managed ETFs but haven't yet made the leap.
So what's going on?
Conway chatted with five fund bigwigs to get a sense of the challenges involved with these products. They included: Vineer Bhansali
, a managing director at Pimco; Joel Dickson
, is senior investment strategist and a principal at Vanguard Group
; Ben Johnson
, global director of passive-funds research at Morningstar
; Mebane Faber
, chief investment officer of Cambria Investment Management
, (which next week will launch the actively managed Cambria Shareholder Yield ETF (SYLD), which tracks companies deemed to excel at returning cash to shareholders), and Stephen Clarke
, president of Eaton Vance
arm Navigate Fund Solutions
, which is working to develop a new breed of ETF -- an exchange-traded managed fund.
What did they have to say on the subject? Read Barron's
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