Daily ETF Watch: Eaton Vance Files For ETMFs

Mutual fund giant does not yet have exemptive relief.

Reviewed by: Heather Bell
Edited by: Heather Bell

Mutual fund giant does not yet have exemptive relief.

Summer is often a slow season in the financial world, but the ETF industry is seeking quite a bit of activity, not the least of which was the recent filing from The Capital Group, indicating the mutual fund behemoth would be entering the active ETF space.

Then late last week, Boston-based Eaton Vance filed paperwork with the SEC to launch 18 actively managed exchange-traded mutual funds (ETMFs); there was also an exemptive relief request from USCF Advisers and a name change for the Northern Lights ETF Trust.

Eaton Vance
We originally reported that Eaton Vance put 10 funds into registration, but that number is actually 18 funds via two different filings. The first filing, which we reported on originally, covers equity funds; the second filing covers mostly fixed-income funds.

The nontransparent actively managed funds will rely on the ETMF structure that is based on patents the mutual fund firm purchased from ETF industry figure Gary Gastineau.

The funds will be traded and priced based on net asset value rather than deriving their prices from daily portfolio transparency.

In an interesting twist, despite filing for its first ETFs, Eaton Vance has not yet received the necessary exemptive relief to actually launch the funds. It first requested the relief in March of last year, with the most recent updated filing made in January 2014. The SEC had announced that approval of the concept was delayed in June.

“Filing registration statements for funds that will employ NAV-based trading is the next step in the normal course of preparing to rely on the exemptive relief we have requested that is currently before the Securities and Exchange Commission for consideration,” said Robyn Tice, a spokeswoman for Eaton Vance.

The list of proposed equities-focused ETMFs includes core asset classes, as well as two “go anywhere” funds carrying Richard Bernstein’s name. Richard Bernstein, CEO and CIO of Richard Bernstein Advisors LLC, will be the portfolio manager for those last two funds; Bernstein was the former chief investment strategist for Merrill Lynch and is considered an expert on style investing. The 10 funds are listed below:

  • Eaton Vance Balanced ETMF
  • Eaton Vance Global Dividend Income ETMF
  • Eaton Vance Large-Cap Growth ETMF
  • Eaton Vance Large-Cap Value ETMF
  • Eaton Vance Small-Cap ETMF
  • Eaton Vance Stock ETMF
  • Parametric International Equity ETMF
  • Parametric Emerging Markets ETMF
  • Eaton Vance Richard Bernstein All Asset Strategy ETMF
  • Eaton Vance Richard Bernstein Equity Strategy ETMF

The filing for the fixed-income funds covers eight ETMFs, which mostly focus on different sectors of the bond market, including three municipal bond funds, a floating-rate bond fund and a "Global Macro Absolute Return" fund that can invest in equities in addition to debt. The list includes:


  • Eaton Vance Bond ETMF
  • Eaton Vance Floating-Rate ETMF
  • Eaton Vance Global Macro Absolute Return ETMF
  • Eaton Vance Government Obligations ETMF
  • Eaton Vance High Income Opportunities ETMF
  • Eaton Vance 5-15 Year Laddered Municipal Income ETMF
  • Eaton Vance High Yield Municipal Income ETMF
  • Eaton Vance National Municipal Income ETMF


The filings indicated that the funds will list on the Nasdaq Stock Market, but did not include tickers or expense ratios.

There are a number of fund firms that are also racing to launch nontransparent ETFs, including State Street Global Advisors, BlackRock’s iShares unit and, according to a recent filing, The Capital Group, the financial industry giant behind the American Funds juggernaut.

USCF Advisers

USCF Advisers, which is affiliated with United States Commodity Funds, has filed its second exemptive relief request.

The first, made back in February, detailed the firm’s plans to launch a variety of index-based ETFs, but this most recent filing sketches out USCF’s intentions to launch actively managed ETFs, including funds of funds.

Despite a growing wave of firms pushing to launch nontransparent active ETFs, the USCF funds will be transparent, with holdings disclosed daily. They will also use derivatives in their strategies in addition to holding fixed-income securities and equities, the filing said.


Heather Bell is a former managing editor of etf.com. She has also held editorial positions at Dow Jones Indexes and Lehman Brothers. Bell is a graduate of Dartmouth college and resides in the Denver area with her two dogs.