The Complete, Updated List of Actively Managed Bond ETFs

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Most bond exchange-traded funds (ETFs) passively track an index rather than having active managers who seek to add value by seeking bonds that may outperform and by avoiding others. Here's a complete list of all actively managed bond ETFs

The Significance of Pimco's Active Bond ETF

Active management is associated more with bond mutual funds than ETFs. That began to change in 2012 when PIMCO (short for Pacific Investment Management Company) introduced the Total Return ETF, which trades under the ticker BOND.

Although not the first management company to introduce a bond ETF -- both iShares and Fidelity came to market earlier -- PIMCO's entry into active ETF management of a bond portfolio is significant. First of all, anything PIMCO does has a certain significance -- it is a huge company with well over $1 trillion under management. PIMCO's move underlines the dissatisfaction that many retail investors have with the performance of their bond funds and their general dissatisfaction with the payouts from passively managed bond index funds in the ultra-low-interest environment of the post-crash era that followed the 2007 financial meltdown. 

Pimco's Total Return (bond) ETF enables investors to access a similar portfolio to the Total Return Fund (ticker: PTTRX), which is the largest bond fund in the world but with significantly lower management fees. PIMCO's Total Return (Mutual) Fund requires investors to pay a 3.75% front-end load (or sales commission). Investors have gradually become ​savvier about load funds as the news that they generally underperform no-load funds has become more generally known. Although BOND's growth slowed in 2016 in response to increasing competition and the mixed record of actively managed bond funds generally, BOND rapidly became one of the most successful ETF launches in history, hauling in more than $4 billion in assets in its first year.

A List of Current Bond ETFS, Including Ticker Symbols and Expense Ratios

Below is the list of all actively-managed bond ETFs, together with their tickers and expense ratios as of June 2016:

  • PIMCO Total Return ETF (BOND), 0.55%
  • PIMCO Enhanced Short Maturity Strategy Fund (MINT), 0.35%
  • Sage Core Reserves ETF (HOLD), 0.35%
  • SPDR SSgA Ultra Short Term Bond ETF (ULST), 0.20%
  • iShares Short Maturity Bond ETF (NEAR), 0.25%
  • AdvisorShares Newfleet Multi-Sector Income ETF (MINC), 0.75%
  • WisdomTree Emerging Markets Local Debt Fund (ELD), 0.55%
  • WisdomTree Asia Local Debt Fund (ALD), 0.55%
  • Guggenheim Enhanced Short Duration Bond ETF (GSY), 0.27%
  • PIMCO Intermediate Municipal Bond Strategy Fund (MUNI), 0.35%
  • Peritus High Yield ETF (HYLD), 1.35%
  • PIMCO Global Advantage Inflation-Linked Bond Strategy Fund (ILB), 0.60%
  • WisdomTree Emerging Markets Corporate Bond Fund (EMCB), 0.60%
  • WisdomTree Australia & New Zealand Debt Fund (AUNZ), 0.45%
  • PIMCO Short Term Municipal Bond Fund (SMMU), 0.35%
  • PIMCO Build America Bond Strategy Fund (BABZ), 0.45%
  • Madrona Global Bond ETF (FWDB), 1.26%
  • Columbia Intermediate Municipal Bond Strategy Fund (GMMB), 0.49%
  • FlexShares Ready Access Variable Income Fund (RAVI), 0.25%
  • WisdomTree Global Corporate Bond Fund (GLCB), 0.45%
  • Columbia Core Bond Strategy Fund (GMTB), 0.48%
  • Guggenheim Enhanced Core Bond ETF (GIY), 0.27%
  • WisdomTree Euro Debt Fund (EU), 0.35%
  • First Trust High Yield Long/Short ETF (HYLS), 1.19%
  • YieldPro ETF (YPRO), 1.35%
  • SPDR Blackstone/GSO Senior Loan ETF (SRLN), 0.90%
  • First Trust Senior Loan ETF (FTSL), 0.85%
  • iShares Liquidity Income ETF (ISCH), 0.18%
  • RiverFront Strategic Income Fund (RIGS), 0.22%
  • Fidelity Total Bond ETF 0.45% (FBND)
  • Fidelity Limited Term Bond ETF (FLTB), 0.45%
  • Fidelity Corporate Bond ETF (FCOR), 0.45%