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Tuesday, April 09, 2019

SEC Blesses a New Kind of Active ETF

News summary by MFWire's editors

After nearly five years in the making (or at least in the regulatory approval process), a new kind of active ETF appears to be close to crossing the finish line, thanks to a long-awaited blessing from the top fund regulators in the land.

Yesterday the SEC granted conditional approval to Precidian Investments' ActiveShares ETF structure. According to the filing, unless the commission itself orders a heading, the regulatory agency will issue an order granting Precidian's exemptive relief request for creating and licensing the ActiveShares structure. Anyone who wants to ask for such a hearing has until May 3 to do so.

Barron's, Bloomberg, ETF.com, Reuters, and the Wall Street Journal all covered the news.

Precidian (which is minority-backed by Legg Mason) is proposing a kind of ETF structure meant to be more friendly to active managers who worry about revealing their secret sauce to potential frontrunners and the like. The ActiveShares structure would allow an active manager to put its strategies into ETF shells, but with more mutual-fund-like (i.e. less frequent than ETFs') disclosures of portfolio holdings.

Several other players, including Fidelity and Blue Tractor, have been trying to get their own active ETF structures approved. Precidian rival Eaton Vance, which in 2016 launched an ETF-like structure targeting the same active management problem, is now seeking approval for an active ETF structure, too. 

Edited by: Neil Anderson, Managing Editor


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