T. Rowe Price (TROW) won approval earlier this month from the SEC to issue actively managed exchange-traded funds, a company spokesperson said on Monday. The funds are not expected to mirror its traditional mutual-fund products.

The news, initially reported by Morningstar on Monday, means that the fund shop has passed an important regulatory hurdle in a process that it began in 2009.

“This exemptive relief provides the approval for T. Rowe Price to offer a variety of active ETFS when, and if, we deem it appropriate to do so. We view ETFs as another potential vehicle for the delivery of our investment management services,” T. Rowe Price said in a statement.

“If we introduce ETFs, our intent would be to offer products that are differentiated from offerings currently in the market and that deliver long-term value to our clients,” the fund company said. “We will not introduce an ETF version of our traditional active mutual funds, if the daily disclosure of portfolio holdings could be detrimental to existing shareholders. We are not prepared to discuss potential specific products at this time.”

In December, T. Rowe Price updated a filing that described potential plans for its first active ETFs, one of which could be — for instance — a fixed-income ETF, according to Morningstar.

Other fund firms that have also been approved as issuers of active ETFs include Eaton Vance, Federated Investors, Legg Mason and Northern Trust.

On Jan. 4, Morningstar said that asset flows into exchange-traded funds reached $191 billion in 2012, topping $169 billion in ETF flows in 2008.