New Kids on the Block: 3 Just-Launched Active ETFs to Consider for 2024


  • Here are three new active ETFs to buy now.
  • T. Rowe Price Capital Appreciation Equity ETF (TCAF): The portfolio manager has been Morningstar Manager of the Year twice. 
  • Touchstone Dynamic International ETF (TDI): It’s about alpha-beating risk-adjusted returns. 
  • BlackRock Total Return ETF (BRTR): Fixed income done right. 
active ETFs - New Kids on the Block: 3 Just-Launched Active ETFs to Consider for 2024


Reuters recently reported that a record 478 new ETFs were launched in the United States in 2023 through Dec. 7. Of the funds launched in 2023, 76% were active ETFs, according to Morningstar Direct data.  

The industry launched a record number of ETFs this year, but 208 were closed. This prompted some to suggest more will close in 2024.

In addition to active ETFs, popular new ETFs in 2023 were income-focused funds, much like the JPMorgan Equity Premium Income ETF (NYSEARCA:JEPI), designed to generate monthly distributable income and equity market exposure with less volatility. Since its launch in May 2020, it has pulled in nearly $31 billion in net assets.

While JEPI doesn’t qualify for inclusion as a new ETF—I did recommend it in August as one of three low-cost actively managed ETFs to buy—there might be one amongst the 363 new actively managed ETFs launched in 2023.

Here are my three stars.   

T. Rowe Price Capital Appreciation Equity ETF (TCAF)

hands at desk near laptop computer, with one hand holding a pile of hundred dollar bills. Bank stocks

T. Rowe Price Capital Appreciation Equity ETF (NYSEARCA:TCAF) is the oldest of the three actively managed ETFs. The ETF launched in June. 

David Giroux manages the fund. He is a T. Rowe Price veteran who’s worked for the asset manager since 1998, right out of college. Giroux won two Morningstar Manager of the Year awards. As he said in an October interview, he’s laser-focused on outperforming his Morningstar peers every year, something he’s done for 16 consecutive years

The fund invests in approximately 100 stocks with experienced management, risk-adjusted solid return potential, a leading market position, above-average earnings growth, cash flow growth, profit margin and an attractive valuation relative to its peers.

The ETF’s top three sectors by weight are technology (27.46%), health care (17.19%), and industrials (14.18%). The top three holdings by weight are Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) at 7.94%, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) at 5.95%, and Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) at 4.48%—the top 10 accounts for 34% of the $604.4 million in net assets.  

It has a very reasonable 0.31% expense ratio. Since its June inception, it has had a return of 6.44%, nearly 100 basis points higher than the S&P 500. I’ll grant you it’s early, but it’s a good start nonetheless.   

Touchstone Dynamic International ETF (TDI)

Illustration of an ETF in multiple sectors.
Source: SWKStock / Shutterstock

Touchstone Dynamic International ETF (NASDAQ:TDI) launched on Dec. 8. It has raised $58.4 million since its listing in early December. 

TDI is an actively managed, fully transparent ETF investing in stocks based in developed and emerging markets outside the U.S.  

“The Fund’s sub-adviser, Los Angeles Capital Management LLC (“Los Angeles Capital”), employs a quantitative investment process for security selection and risk management. Los Angeles Capital’s Dynamic Alpha Stock Selection Model® is a proprietary quantitative model used to build equity portfolios that adapt to market conditions,” states the ETF’s summary prospectus.  

What precisely is the Dynamic Alpha Stock Selection Model?

According to Los Angeles Capital Management’s website, the process involves five steps for identifying and selecting stocks for the portfolio. The summary prospectus dives into the nitty-gritty of the process. 

However, the general premise is to identify 100-140 stocks with acceptable levels of risk combined with above-average future expected returns. Furthermore, the stocks chosen are weighted by their ranking in these two factors. 

The benchmark index for the ETF is the MSCI All Country World Ex-U.S. Index. Its top 10 holdings account for 23.22% of the ETF’s net assets. The top 10 holdings includes two excellent Canadian companies: Constellation Software (OTCMKTS:CNSWF) and Dollarama (OTCMKTS:DLMAF). 

It has a reasonable expense ratio of 0.65%. This is one of the top active ETFs on the market.

BlackRock Total Return ETF (BRTR)

A person drawing a line graph with the phrase "ETF" in large letters on a chalkboard. index funds to buy
Source: Shutterstock

The BlackRock Total Return ETF (NASDAQ:BLTR) launched on Dec. 12. It has $76.5 million in net assets. The ETF is part of BlackRock’s Total Return strategy.

“Total return is a core-plus strategy designed to seek consistent, attractive returns across all market cycles via a multi-sector approach, while remaining benchmark-aware and retaining the general risk profile of conservative fixed income investments,” states BlackRock’s Strategies page on its website. 

The ETF is a go anywhere, invest in any kind of fixed-income security, type of investment. Possible investments include corporate bonds and notes, mortgage-backed securities, asset-backed securities, convertible securities, preferred securities and government obligations. 

It can invest up to 30% of the net assets in foreign fixed-income securities, with emerging markets accounting for up to 66% of the fund’s total foreign investments. Its goal is to generate a total return (income plus capital appreciation) that is superior to the  Bloomberg U.S. Aggregate Bond Index.

Moreover, it currently has 853 holdings with a weighted average coupon of 3.72% and a weighted average duration of 10.67 years. The top three types of bonds by weight are U.S. Treasuries (41.40%), Agency Residential Mortgages (33.23%), and U.S. Investment Grade Credit (22.88%). It has no foreign holdings except for 1.27% in the Cayman Islands.

Furthermore, BLTR is an ETF version of the BlackRock Total Return Fund (MUTF:MDHQX), which gets a Gold rating from Morningstar, its highest level of conviction.

It charges a reasonable 0.38% annually. If you are looking for active ETFs, start here.

On the date of publication, Will Ashworth did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the Publishing Guidelines.

Will Ashworth has written about investments full-time since 2008. Publications where he’s appeared include InvestorPlace, The Motley Fool Canada, Investopedia, Kiplinger, and several others in both the U.S. and Canada. He particularly enjoys creating model portfolios that stand the test of time. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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