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Market Extra: Can ‘nontransparent ETFs’ save active investing?

Active managers have been locked in a 30-year war of attrition against passively managed exchange-traded funds, which have transformed from niche to juggernaut, representing roughly $4 trillion in assets today.

However, a recent decision by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which paves the way for active managers to offer so-called “nontransparent” ETFs, is being vetted by a number of industry participants as potential salvation for beleaguered money managers, who have both underperformed passive ETFs that track an index, like the S&P 500 SPX, +0.66%SPY, +0.67% or the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +1.03%DIA, +1.00% and experienced eroding market share.

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