Federated Plans To Enter ETF Market

August 29, 2011

Federated joining ETF space, revealing plans for a money-market proxy fund.

Federated Investment Management, the Pittsburgh-based company known for its money market funds, filed paperwork with U.S. regulators seeking permission to market actively managed ETFs, the first of which would be a short-dated, fixed-income fund that’s similar to a Pimco money-market proxy.

The Federated Active UltraShort Fixed Income ETF, the first ETF Federated hopes to bring to market under the exemptive relief it’s seeking, would strive to outperform three-month Libor by investing in fixed- and floating-rate fixed-income securities. Its holdings would include investment-grade and noninvestment-grade corporate as well as U.S. government debt, the company said in the filing.

The fund would join index ETFs like Vanguard’s Short-Term Bond Fund (NYSEArca: BSV), the SPDR Barclays Capital 1-3 Month Treasury ETF (NYSEArca: BIL) and a roster of iShares offerings in the short-term bond market. But it looks similar to the Pimco Enhanced Short Maturity Strategy (NYSEArca: MINT), which has gathered more than $1.3 billion in assets since its November 2009 inception.

Like MINT, Federated’s fund would be actively managed and represents an ETF industry answer to money market funds. The success of the Pimco fund suggests that increasing numbers of investors are embracing the ETF option when they are looking for a place to park assets in volatile markets.

Federated’s fund would steer clear of derivatives instruments, the company said in the filing, adding that neither this initial fund nor any other in the future would rely on such instruments.

The company managed nearly $350 billion in assets by the end of June through 134 funds and several separately managed accounts, according to company data on its website.

Its latest filing with the SEC seeks exemptive relief granting exceptions to sections of the Investment Act of 1940, a step needed to launch ETFs.


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