Converting a Mutual Fund to an ETF: Key Considerations
Investment Management Update
Date: July 15, 2019
Asset managers are exploring the idea of converting mutual funds into exchange-traded funds (ETFs). This comes at a time when the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has allowed the first non-transparent, actively managed ETF, which enables asset managers to offer their actively managed strategies in an ETF product without divulging the “secret sauce” behind them. This combination of regulatory developments could pave the way for mutual fund complexes to transform some or all of their mutual funds into non-transparent, actively managed ETFs. Asset managers of actively managed mutual funds less sensitive about daily disclosing their investment portfolios could convert those funds into traditional, fully transparent ETFs.
To date, no mutual fund has been converted into an ETF. Such a conversion raises regulatory and operational issues, none of which are insurmountable. In this publication, we discuss the issues and steps that asset managers and their counsel need to consider in converting a mutual fund into an ETF.