State Street Global Advisors said Thursday that trading had begun on the NYSE Arca exchange on the first three of its actively managed exchange-traded funds.

The pioneer of passively managed ETFs, which it first introduced in January 1993, said it had introduced three funds of funds, that will be managed by its Investment Solutions Group.

“The goal is obviously to outperform” market returns and market benchmarks, in general, said Jim Ross, president of SSgA Funds Management.

Ross noted that while active ETFs -- now numbering 47 industry-wide -- only constitute about half a percent of the $1.2 trillion of assets under management, there is large potential. In mutual funds, seven times as many assets are held in actively managed funds, as in passive funds, he said.

State Street’s actively managed funds will be “very focused,’’ Ross said, that will feature “tactical” strategies that identify investing opportunities, on undervalued or mispriced securities.

In these funds, the firm is seeking 1% or 2% higher returns in a given year than can be generated by passive investment in a benchmark designed to reflect the investment options being pursued.

“Tactical” approaches are desired by investors whose holdings got scarred by the credit crisis of 2008. Christopher Goolgasian, the head of U.S. Portfolio Management, said the scars were almost as deep for current generations of investors as the Great Depression was for investors, in the 1930s.

There will be “a very long bulish market for tactical soltuions because this memory is going to live for a very long time,’’ Goolgasian said.

The first actively managed funds include:

SPDR SSga Multi-Asset Return ETF: For capital appreciation and current income. Invests in multiple exchange-traded products, from inflation-protected securities to commodities to real estte. Annual expense ratio: 0.70%.

SPDR SSga Income Allocation ETF: Income and yield-generating investments, investing in exchange-traded products such as stock funds, bond funds, hybrid stock-bond funds and real estate. Annual expense ratio: 0.35%

SPDR SSga Global Allocation ETF: Income, capital preservation and low vality, investing in stocks, real estate, debt and cahs. Annual expense ratio: 0.35%

State Street launched the exchange-traded fund industry in 1993 with the introduction of the SPDR S&P 500 ETF, known as SPY. That fund remains the most widely held ETF. 

SPY is now the most actively traded security of any type, according to NYSE Arca. Its average daily trading volume is $19.2 billion. Next is Apple, the digital media company, at $10.2 billion a day.