Less than five years after their debut, actively managed exchange traded-funds whether rules-based or selected by actual human beings are still a bit player in the overall ETF universe, accounting for roughly $5.2 billion in assets at the end of 2011 according to AdvisorShares.
Thats a drop in the bucket compared to their index-based ETF brethren which hold more than $1.05 trillion in investor assets.
But actively managed ETFs are on the come. AdvisorShares, a leading-sponsor of actively-managed ETFs and one of the first firms to apply for exemptive relief status with the SEC, currently offers 13 actively-managed ETFs via the NYSE Arca.
In February, PIMCO launched its Total Return Exchange-Traded Fund (TRXT), just the latest sure sign that these funds are starting to come of age.