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The folks at Pimco have been dipping their collective toes in the market for exchange traded funds for a while now. The water must have been fine because Pimco is diving right in with the registration of an ETF that will be similar to Pimco’s flagship bond fund, Pimco Total Return (PTTRX).

This Wall Street Journal report touches on the news (emphasis mine):

… Today, PIMCO filed a registration statement to list an exchange-traded version of the massive PIMCO Total Return Fund.

… It may have just been a matter of time before Total Return became available as an ETF.

PIMCO, as noted by IndexUniverse, has already had success in ETFs with MINT — a short term bond fund — pushing $1 billion in assets.

Actively-managed ETFs are relatively rare, as most ETFs are passively managed in order to track a given index. But, as the article notes, the release of a Pimco Total Return ETF would be doubly significant because of the mutual fund’s size and stature and because it is an actively-managed fund.

The WSJ continues:

And some say that the Total Return ETF could mean that other active fund managers who’ve been dragging their feet on offering ETFs will be prodded to join the party ...

Actively managed ETFs, according to AdvisorShares Investments, constituted $4.2 billion of the total $1 trillion ETF business in the United States at the end of March. WisdomTree investments clocked in with $2.4 billion through 12 active funds; PIMCO at $1.3 billion across four funds and AdvisorShares at $257 million across six funds.

So when will the PIMCO Total Return ETF start trading? No word on that in today’s filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is fairly preliminary.

At this point, there is not too much more to say about Pimco’s Total Return ETF because the so-called quiet period is underway. While a registration is wending its way through the regulatory thicket, the fund management folks have to hold off on any public discussions, so we’ll just have to wait a bit. More on this when it comes along.

Here is the link to the registration document Pimco filed:

Pimco ETF Trust Registration

Disclosure: Kurt Brouwer owns shares in Pimco Total Return Fund (PTTRX)

Source: PIMCO Files for Total Return ETF