T Rowe Price Debuts 3 Bond ETFs

The new funds, like their equity ETF siblings, are all actively managed.

Reviewed by: Dan Mika
Edited by: Dan Mika

T. Rowe Price launched a trio of fully transparent actively managed fixed income products, marking the first bond ETFs from the longtime mutual fund provider.

All three funds launched on the NYSE Arca on Wednesday.

TickerFundExpense RatioCorresponding Mutual Fund
TOTRT. Rowe Price Total Return ETF0.31%PTTFX
TBUXT. Rowe Price Ultra Short-Term Bond ETF0.17%TRBUX
TAGGT. Rowe Price QM U.S. Bond ETF0.08%PBDIX

The new ETFs share names and strategies with existing mutual funds in the T. Rowe lineup that are broadly outperforming comparable actively managed bond ETFs.

The ETFs also have expense ratio discounts of between 8 and 22 basis points compared with their mutual fund counterparts.

T. Rowe’s ultra-short mutual fund TRBUX, counterpart to TBUX, has posted returns of 0.33% this year versus the JPMorgan Ultra-Short Income ETF (JPST) and the BlackRock Ultra Short-Term Bond ETF (ICSH) with respective returns of 0.27% and 0.25%.

The total return fund PTTFX’s 0.61% return this year is also beating the iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF (AGG) and the Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF (BND), which are down 1.31% and 1.39%, respectively. PTTFX closely corresponds with TOTR.

The QM U.S. Bond Index Fund (PBDIX), counterpart to TAGG, is down on the year, with returns of -0.98%, enough to just edge out the Franklin Liberty U.S. Core Bond ETF (FLCB), with its return of -1.07% and the JPMorgan U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF (JAGG), with a -1.26% return.

T. Rowe’s lineup now consists of eight ETFs, all of which are actively managed and had assets of more than $442 million prior to today’s launches. The firm first entered the ETF market a little more than a year ago with four nontransparent actively managed ETFs.

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Dan Mika is a reporter for etf.com. He has previously covered business for the Ames Tribune and Cedar Rapids Gazette in Iowa, and BizWest Media in Fort Collins, Colorado. Dan holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Truman State University.