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Popular ETF strategy shift may benefit investors


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With Wall Street jitters increasing over the number of interest rate hikes ahead, VettaFi’s Todd Rosenbluth sees signs of a comeback in managed fixed-income exchange-traded funds.

“It’s not clear how fast the Fed is going to slow down and how quickly that that’s going to adjust the marketplace,” the firm’s head of research told CNBC’s “ETF Edge” this week. “So, [investors] want to lean on the active managers to be able to do that.”

Rosenbluth said top ETF providers such as BlackRock’s iShares and Vanguard and newer players such as Morgan Stanley and Capital Group are saturating the market with a wide array of fixed-income ETFs.

“We just now have more products,” he said. “You’ve got two of the leading fixed-income ETF providers offering up some of the largest products. And, they’re able to balance their portfolio shifting by taking on more duration or taking on more credit or less based on the environment that they’re seeing.”

According to Rosenbluth, this versatility is attracting investors by offering more opportunities to take advantage of active ETFs for leverage.

‘Stock-like experience through ETFs’

“You’re getting the benefits of that liquidity,” he said. “Even though you’re buying bonds, you’re getting a stock-like experience through ETFs.”

Pimco’s Jerome Schneider notes the benefits of active ETFs can help ease anxiety over not only additional rate hikes but also corporate earnings and liquidity conditions.

“These are factors … [that] create uncertainty for advisors and investors alike,” said Schneider, the firm’s managing director and leader of short-term portfolio management and funding.

He said Pimco, whose Active Bond Exchange-Traded Fund is off 2% so far this month, is advising clients on safe opportunities in this rising rate backdrop.

“The yield component of fixed income right now is something that we haven’t seen for decades,” Schneider added.

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