T. Rowe Price (NYSE: TROW) and Legg Mason (NYSE: LM) have received approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission to begin trading actively managed exchange traded funds.

“I expect them to move fast,” Robert Goldsborough, an ETF analyst with Morningstar, said in a Baltimore Sun report. Goldsborough said he would be surprised if this year ended without both Legg and Price launching active ETFs. [Legg Mason Readies Trio of Active ETFs]

Passively managed exchange traded funds have been trading nearly 20 years, and have proven to be more transparent and tax-efficient than mutual funds, reports Eileen Ambrose for the Baltimore Sun. Actively managed ETFs are the next frontier for the business, as this segment of the market has been trying to get off the ground for the past 5 years.

Analysts believe that 2013 will be the year of the actively managed ETF. According to Morningstar data, there is $1.4 trillion in assets under management in the ETF industry, with 1,445 funds trading. There are 53 ETFs of that bunch that are actively managed, totaling $10.5 billion in assets under management. [10 ETF Trends for 2013]

T. Rowe Price originally filed for approval in 2009, while Legg Mason applied in 2010, so the process has taken some time.

Legg Mason has plans to launch an active bond ETF, the Legg Mason Western Asset Ultra-Short Duration ETF. Maria Rosati, Mason spokeswoman, in the report said she expects the ETF to launch sometime in the first quarter. [Mutual Fund Companies Readying Active ETFs]

Actively managed ETFs that have taken off are usually tracking the fixed income market. Both the PIMCO Total Return ETF (NYSEArca: BOND) and the WisdomTree Emerging Market Debt (NYSEArca: ELD) track the bond market and have had unprecedented success. [Why ETF Providers Are Stepping Up Their Game]

T. Rowe Price has not yet disclosed any particular product and is not declaring if it is going to even launch such a fund.

Tisha Guerrero contributed to this article.

Full disclosure: Tom Lydon’s clients own BOND.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.

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