Huntington Bank Joins Active ETF Crowd

By
Lawrence De Geest
June 21, 2010
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Huntington Asset Advisors, the investment arm of Columbus, Ohio-based Huntington Bank, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to offer actively managed exchange-traded funds, and said in a separate press release that it plans on rolling out two initial funds under the exemptive relief filing, including what it called the first actively managed “green” fund.

In a separate press release, the company said the funds in the works include the Huntington Ecological Strategy Fund and the Huntington Global Rotating Strategy Fund. It didn’t say where the funds would be listed or how much management fees would be.

While actively managed funds make up a miniscule portion of U.S. ETF assets, a growing number of firms have filed to be able to offer such funds, including the world’s biggest ETF company, iShares. Just less than 25 actively managed funds have gathered about $1.5 billion, compared with more than 1,000 passively managed ETFs with about $800 billion in assets.

The Huntington Ecological Strategy Fund will invest primarily in domestic stocks with environmental themes. It won’t be designed to track socially responsible indexes like the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes or the ACT Australian Cleantech Index. If successfully launched, it will be the first “green” actively managed ETF.

Huntington Asset Advisors currently manages approximately $13 billion in assets and hopes that continued interest in environmentally oriented investing will contribute to the success of its green ETF.

The Global Rotating Strategy Fund is designed to achieve capital appreciation by shifting holdings among equity market segments, including mid-cap, large-cap and within-industry sectors, depending on economic conditions. There’s currently only one sector rotation fund among actively managed ETFs,
Canada
’s Horizon AlphaPro Seasonal Rotation Fund (TSX: HAC).

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.

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