BlackRock Launches Total Return Active ETF

BlackRock bond chief Rick Rieder's BRTR ETF was listed on the Nasdaq.

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Reviewed by: etf.com Staff
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Edited by: etf.com Staff

BlackRock Inc., whose iShares unit manages $2.49 trillion across more than 400 exchange-traded funds, announced on Thursday that it has launched an active, fixed-income ETF as demand for actively managed funds soars.

BlackRock, the world's biggest asset manager, said in a statement the BlackRock Total Return ETF (BRTR) fund will use the firm's “total return” strategy. This involves investing in fixed-income securities across multiple sectors with the goal of providing consistent returns across different market cycles.  

BRTR's share price rose about 2% to $51.26 at noon in its first day of trading Thursday. 

Although active funds represent a small portion of the overall ETF market—they hold about $502 billion in assets, according to etf.com data, a fraction of the $7 trillion held in all U.S. ETFs—their numbers are growing. About 1,300 active ETFs trade in the U.S., according to etf.com data. As of Nov. 1, fund companies brought 309 actively managed exchange-traded funds to market in 2023, breaking the previous record of 305 set in 2021, etf.com reported.

BlackRock's new actively managed fund aims to beat the Bloomberg U.S. Aggregate Bond Index. It's the second ETF to be managed by Rick Rieder, BlackRock’s chief investment officer of global fixed income. The first was the BlackRock Flexible Income ETF (BINC), which launched in May. New York-based BlackRock filed to launch BRTR in September.

"The BlackRock Total Return strategy aims to provide clients with a well-diversified portfolio that is built to navigate different market cycles," lead portfolio manager David Rogal said in an emailed comment. 

BRTR and Active ETFs

BlackRock also said the new fund is another sign of its commitment to active ETFs

“The rapid growth of active ETFs has proved that ETFs are no longer limited to index management,” Dominik Rohe, head of Americas ETF and Index Investments at BlackRock, said in the statement.  

Overall, the firm has $9.42 trillion in assets under management, making it the largest asset manager in the world.