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Can Funds Own ETFs?

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The SEC has granted Power-Shares exemptive relief that allows mutual funds to invest a greater portion of their assets in the company’s exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

According to the Investment Company Act of 1940′s Section 12d-1, a mutual fund is forbidden to own more than 3 percent of another fund’s total voting shares. The rule also places restrictions on ownership positions to 5 percent of total assets for a single fund and 10 percent for multiple funds.

“The regulatory relief order is another step in our continued integration with Invesco and allows PowerShares’ ETFs to utilize INVESCO’s global distribution capabilities — including AIM Investments in the United States — offering investors the best of both worlds,” PowerShares Capital Management President Bruce Bond explained in a press release commenting on the decision.

The SEC’s ruling will apply to all ETFs managed by PowerShares. Investment companies wanting to utilize the exemption must first enter into a participation agreement with PowerShares and agree to abide by the investment guidelines and restrictions set in place. Not manipulating share prices by exercising undue influence over the PowerShares ETFs is one of the rules.

Other major fund providers such as Barclays Global Investors, State Street Global Advisors and the Vanguard Group have obtained similar rulings on their respective ETFs.

PowerShares is a unit of global investment manager Invesco.

Ron DeLegge is the San Diego-based editor of