Game Changer: PIMCO Total Return ETF Set To Launch March 1

| About: PIMCO Total (BOND)

By Robert Goldsborough

With little fanfare, PIMCO has announced that it is planning on March 1 to launch the long-awaited, actively managed exchange-traded fund version of its wildly popular fixed-income mutual fund, PIMCO Total Return Retail (PTRRX).

As we had noted yesterday in our ETF Weekly column, PIMCO and Bill Gross, its star fund manager (and PIMCO founder), have been awaiting one final regulatory hurdle before launching the ETF version of Total Return, and they were reported elsewhere to be "weeks away" from a launch. The move is viewed as a game-changer for actively managed ETFs, because Gross far and away would be the highest-profile fund manager to roll out a version of a mutual fund in an ETF wrapper.

Now, PIMCO has set a launch date for the proposed actively managed PIMCO Total Return Exchange-Traded Fund (TRXT), which would disclose portfolio holdings daily and charge 0.55%. We view the launch of this ETF as a win/win situation for everyone involved because other entrants in the active ETF space have shown us that, generally, the fees for investors are lower and the tax efficiency should be higher. What's more, the launch of PIMCO Total Return ETF should demonstrate to all other active fund managers and experienced mutual fund firms that ETFs based on existing funds are feasible.

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