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Legg Mason launches four exchange-traded funds

Legg Mason has launched four exchange-traded funds, the Baltimore-based money manager announced Tuesday after nearly six years of seeking to diversify its traditional mutual fund offerings.

The four index-based funds were launched last week in partnership with its investment affiliate QS Investors but will be branded under the Legg Mason name. They are traded on the NASDAQ Stock Market.

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Legg Mason filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 2010 to offer actively managed exchange traded funds, and company officials said last year they hoped new offerings would help the company remain competitive as actively-managed funds become less popular and index-based funds grow.

ETFs can track an index or reflect an investment strategy similar to a mutual fund but can be traded like a stock.

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The funds are: the Legg Mason Developed ex-US Diversified Core ETF, the Legg Mason Emerging Markets Diversified Core ETF, the Legg Mason US Diversified Core ETF, and the Legg Mason Low Volatility High Dividend ETF. The first three funds have broad market exposure that can complement core portfolios, while the fourth is focused stocks that have a high dividend but aren't historically volatile.

Legg plans to launch more ETFs in the coming months.

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