The 3 Hottest Actively Managed ETFs

August 21, 2014

These three actively managed ETF strategies worked very well over the past year.


Chart courtesy of

These three ETFs had the highest trailing one-year total return among actively managed ETFs:

  1. The PowerShares Active US Real Estate ETF (PSR | C-89) returned 24 percent over the past year. PSR holds a portfolio of mostly commercial REITs but also includes exposure to specialized REITs (hospitals, railways, etc.) and residential REITs.
  2. The Columbia Select Large Cap Growth ETF (RWG | C-46) returned 25 percent over the past year and holds a portfolio of large and midcap "growth" equities. With a portfolio P/E of 41 and a P/B of 7, RWG selects the "growthiest" of the growth securities.
  3. The First Trust North American Energy Infrastructure ETF (EMLP) is the hottest actively managed ETF over the past year, having returned 26 percent for investors. The fund invests in American and Canadian MLPs and corporations that are involved in energy infrastructure.

It's worth noting that while these actively managed strategies performed very well over the past year, they also happened to be invested in markets that themselves were rising quickly. In fact, none of them generated statistically significant risk-adjusted outperformance—meaning that while they may have beaten our benchmark, they did so with extra risk.

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