Fidelity-iShares Partnership

There has been lingering speculation that Fidelity might launch a family of actively managed ETFs based on its stable of sector mutual funds since the firm hired State Street ETF veteran Tony Rochte. That speculation could be misplaced. [Fidelity Files to Launch Active ETFs]

Fidelity said Wednesday it will partner with BlackRock “to offer some passively managed ETF sector funds like in health care and technology, although it hasn’t offered any further details,” The Wall Street Journal reported.

Kathleen Murphy, president of personal investing at Fidelity Investments, told the firm entered into a commitment with BlackRock for product development and innovation on an on-going basis. “Fidelity will focus its efforts on actively managed ETFs, smart beta ETFs and will partner with iShares on passive ETF sector funds,” she said in the report.

3. Fidelity shying away from ‘me-too’ index ETFs

Fidelity currently manages one ETF, Fidelity Nasdaq Composite Index (NasdaqGM: ONEQ).

Based on Wednesday’s announcement and press reports, it seems that Fidelity is holding off on launching more of its own broad-based indexed ETFs. Instead, it will offer iShares ETFs to its customers who want to invest in these diversified, passively managed ETFs.

Fidelity’s Murphy told The Wall Street Journal that clients would be better served by having expanded access to the country’s largest provider of ETFs—BlackRock—than by Fidelity trying to create its own funds from scratch.

“Instead of being a ‘me-too’ in the passive ETF space, we’re going to partner with the leader,” Murphy said in a report.

It appears that Fidelity will focus on launching its own actively managed ETFs, based on regulatory filings.

4. ETFs in managed accounts

The announcement Wednesday also includes a partnership under which Fidelity will expand its managed account offerings with new products using iShares ETFs as the underlying investments.

“Fidelity and BlackRock will jointly focus on providing innovative ETF-based solutions on an ongoing basis as part of this partnership,” the firms said in a press release.

“We’re broadening our managed account suite of tactical ETF strategies,” Murphy said in a telephone interview Wednesday. “This is a down payment on the long-term alliance with BlackRock’s iShares.”