SEC Clears Rules For Speedier Approval of Actively Managed ETFs

  • Will make it easier for the funds to gain regulatory approval
  • Approval a victory for exchange operators NYSE Group, Bats

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission cleared the way for issuers of actively managed exchange-traded funds to get their products on the market faster.

Regulators approved a rule filing that will speed the listing process for the ETFs, whose stock and bond holdings are picked by human managers rather than determined by indexes, according to exchange operators NYSE Group Inc. and Bats Global Markets Inc. The approval is a victory for the exchanges, which asked for permission for a streamlined application process in filings last year.

The newly approved rule could shave months off the process of getting active ETFs on the market, said Chris Concannon, the chief executive officer of Bats. While passive funds have a generic template for approval, their active counterparts are assessed individually, a procedure that can take months. Having a generic template for the products makes it quicker and less costly for issuers to launch the products, he said.

“This allows a standard structure that’s much quicker than having your product individually approved,” said Concannon in a phone interview. “It becomes that much more attractive.”

Active ETFs still make up a tiny fraction of the market, under 1 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“We are pleased that our efforts to rationalize the listings process for actively managed funds will provide issuers with greater certainty on timing and efficiency when launching new products,” said Doug Yones, NYSE head of exchange-traded products, in a statement.

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