iShares Jumps Onto Active ETF Bandwagon
June 17, 2010
iShares, the world’s biggest exchange-traded fund company, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to obtain permission to offer actively managed ETFs, a move that would push the firm beyond its roots as one of the pioneers of the index investing revolution.
The “exemptive relief” filing casts a wide net, laying the groundwork for the San Francisco-based company to roll out equity and fixed-income funds or ones that combine the two asset classes. It also said new ETFs created under the order could buy shares in other ETFs as well as shares of money market mutual funds.
The decision to offer actively managed ETFs puts iShares in the company of a number of noteworthy money management firms that plan to launch actively managed ETFs, such as J.P. Morgan and Legg Mason. Of the firms that already offer actively managed ETFs, Pimco is one of the only ones that’s had a measure of success. The Pimco Enhanced Short Maturity Strategy Fund (NYSEArca: MINT), a money market fund proxy, hauled in $596.4 million in new assets in May.
Exemptive relief filings grant the ETF firms exception to sections of the Investment Act of 1940 and are just the first step in the path to launching ETFs. It often takes at least six to 12 months from the date of the initial filing for a company’s first ETF to hit the market.