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PRESS RELEASE: T. Rowe Price Receives Preliminary Approval From SEC to Offer Semi-Transparent, Actively Managed Exchange-Traded Funds

Firm’s long-established strategic investing approach to be available in innovative new ETF format



  • On November 14, 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) granted preliminary exemptive relief to T. Rowe Price to offer semi-transparent exchange-traded funds (ETFs).  The relief paves the way for T. Rowe Price to bring to market ETFs that employ the firm’s successful, longstanding actively managed investment approach.
  • T. Rowe Price has been engaged in constructive dialogue with the SEC about the potential launch of semi-transparent active ETFs for several years and first filed for exemptive relief in 2013.
  • While the preliminary SEC approval clears an important hurdle toward T. Rowe Price offering ETFs, additional regulatory steps must take place before the firm can launch any ETFs. 
  • T. Rowe Price is still determining which investment strategies may be available as semi-transparent ETFs, though it will begin by offering certain U.S. equity strategies.
  • The semi-transparent structure, which is an alternative to the daily portfolio disclosure structure used by conventional transparent ETFs, would allow T. Rowe Price to deliver its active strategies in an ETF wrapper without disclosing information that could be harmful to the interests of fund shareholders.
  • ETFs have become popular with individual investors and their financial advisors in recent years because of their tax efficiency, low-cost structure, and convenience.  Due to regulatory requirements for daily portfolio transparency, most current ETFs are based on passively managed strategies.  By contrast, T. Rowe Price’s active ETFs will give investors the opportunity to pursue alpha beyond a passive index.  They will do this by leveraging the firm’s strategic investing process, which is characterized by rigorous fundamental research and active decisions executed by skilled, experienced portfolio managers.



Tim Coyne, Head of Exchange-Traded Funds

“Passively managed, index-based strategies have fueled the growth of ETFs thus far.  But we believe that semi-transparent, actively managed ETFs from a trusted brand like T. Rowe Price have the potential to gain traction with investors and advisors who are already interested in active management but who might prefer the ETF structure. We believe this is a significant milestone that will lead to opening a new avenue for our business.”

George Riedel, Head of U.S. Intermediaries

“T. Rowe Price’s semi-transparent, active ETFs will be a new way for investors to access our longstanding investment capabilities. As marketplace preferences evolve, we want to be able to deliver our investment capabilities in formats investors prefer, whether that is an open-end mutual fund, an ETF, or something else, like a separately managed account or a collective investment trust.”

Scott Livingston, Head of Global ETF Product

“We are grateful to the SEC for their expertise and guidance as we worked collaboratively toward securing this preliminary exemptive relief for T. Rowe Price ETFs. It’s important to meet investors where they are, and we believe that our ETFs will effectively complement our existing product structures.”



Founded in 1937, Baltimore-based T. Rowe Price Group, Inc., is a global investment management organization with $1.15 trillion in assets under management as of October 31, 2019. The organization provides a broad array of mutual funds, subadvisory services, and separate account management for individual and institutional investors, retirement plans, and financial intermediaries. The organization also offers a variety of sophisticated investment planning and guidance tools. T. Rowe Price’s disciplined, risk-aware investment approach focuses on diversification, style consistency, and fundamental research. For more information, visit, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, or Facebook.