In an extended bull market where it is becoming increasingly harder to pick out winners, exchange traded fund investors may consider actively managed strategies with a proven track record.

ETF Trends publisher Tom Lydon spoke with Dodd Kittsley, Director at Davis Advisors, at the 2017 Morningstar Investment Conference in Chicago April 26-28 to talk active management in a predominantly passive, index-based ETF industry.

Many investors have been put off by active management that has acted like closeted indexers with high management fees or low performances. While there are some bad examples of poor actively managed funds, there are also those that have stood out in the industry.

“The firm’s been managing actively, fundamental, bottom-up since 1969 formally, and we believe we represent what the characteristics of good active are,” Kittsley said. “It’s being benchmark agnostic, high conviction, low turnover, strong co-investment and alignment with your investors.”

Davis Advisors, a critically acclaimed traditional mutual fund firm, has now sought to branch out with its strategies in hopes of making a name for itself in the ETF space.

“It was natural,” Kittsley said. “First of all, clients asked for it. When we looked at it, it made a lot of sense to bring time-tested, proven active management and marry that with a traditional ETF structure and all the benefits that they offer.”

The active fund manager also believes that now is the time for greater interest for actively managed ETF strategies, especially with the challenges in a prolonged nine-year bull equities market, and Davis Advisors wants to be among the first movers in the space.

“In my opinion, what we’re going to see in 2017 and 2018 the story in the ETF industry is going to be about active,” Kittsley said. “It’s going to be the next engine for growth, and we’re fortunate to be right at the beginning of that.”

ETF investors can also gain exposure to Davis’ proven research and investment styles through the Davis Select U.S. Equity ETF (NasdaqGM: DUSA), Davis Select Financial ETF (NasdaqGM: DFNL), and Davis Select Worldwide ETF (NasdaqGM: DWLD). DUSA is managed by Christopher Davis and Danton Goei, a portfolio manager for the Davis Large Cap Value Portfolios and a member of the research team. Davis also manages DFNL while Goei manages DWLD.

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