After a strong fourth quarter that saw assets under management and investment fees surge, T. Rowe Price Group Inc. still plans to follow a more conservative strategy than some of its peers.

It wants to pursue "moderate" international growth and will not follow the pack into actively managed exchange-traded funds, James A.C. Kennedy, the money manager's chief executive officer and president, said in an interview Thursday.

The Baltimore fund company reported that its assets under management grew 42% last year, to $391.3 billion, and 6.9% in the fourth quarter. It had net cash inflows of $7.3 billion last year, compared with net outflows of $2.4 billion a year earlier. Its profit rose to $152.5 million, or 57 cents a share, from $24.3 million, or 9 cents, a year earlier.

Kennedy said that T. Rowe wants to proceed cautiously abroad. Currently, 12% of its assets under management are held outside the United States. Considering the talk by some larger asset managers of reaching 50% in the next few years, analysts said that T. Rowe would have a lot of ground to make up if it wanted to be an international player.

As to launching an actively managed ETF, Kennedy said, "the trading and intellectual power behind our funds belongs to our clients, and if we expose those, every day we'd be giving it away to the marketplace. Unless we can do a nontransparent ETF, we cannot proceed with active ETF."

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