(Dow Jones) J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.'s (JPM) investment arm indicated it plans to offer actively managed exchange-traded funds, following recent moves by competitors including Eaton Vance Corp. (EV), Legg Mason Inc. (LM) and T. Rowe Price Group Inc. (TROW).

The Securities and Exchange Commission filing, dated Wednesday, indicates J.P. Morgan's initial fund will hold a portfolio of about 300 large-capitalization U.S. stocks but also asks for permission to launch other stock and bond funds. The fund represents the company's entry into the ETF market.

Although ETFs have proved popular with investors, most remain index funds, passively tracking market benchmarks. By contrast, actively managed stock ETFs have yet to attract a significant following.

Nonetheless, the SEC can take months or even years to clear a company to launch its first funds, so investment managers may be trying to get the necessary approvals in order so they are not left in dust if active ETFs do catch fire.

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