Tag Archives: active management

Performance Trickery, part 4

As a potential investor, would you be impressed by the pattern of fund returns summarized in Exhibit 1?  (I would be.) Exhibit 1. Portfolio and Benchmark Cumulative Returns Over the course of 15 years, the portfolio in question notched a total return of 69%, versus only 50% for its benchmark.  The accumulation of added value Read more […]

Can Top-Performing Funds Stay on Top over Time?

Many market participants attempt to identify future top-performing funds using managers’ track records. This practice implicitly assumes that managers’ successful track records reflect skill and that their superior performance will be repeated in the future. Since genuine skill is likely to persist, one key measure of active management skill is the consistency of a fund’s Read more […]

The Challenge of Finding Outperforming Active Funds in Canada

The SPIVA® Canada Year-End 2019 Scorecard was released recently. Despite the strong performance of broad equities, 2019 proved to be yet another challenging year for active funds in Canada. Here are a few highlights from the report. Strong Market Performance Did Not Translate to Active Fund Outperformance The S&P/TSX Composite posted its highest annual return Read more […]

Outcome-Oriented Solutions: Where Active and Passive Meet

What do presidential debates and an argument between passive and active investors have in common? They are both thrilling, demand the highest levels of rhetorical skills, don’t change audience opinions, and everyone goes home entertained. While presidential debates remain as exciting as ever, the shrillness of conversation between active and passive investors seems to have Read more […]

Two Sides of Volatility

I was recently asked whether volatility was particularly challenging for index fund owners or for active investors.  The answer is “yes.” For index funds, the challenge arises because rising volatility typically accompanies poor returns.  Between 1991 and 2019, e.g., months in which the S&P 500’s volatility was above median averaged modestly negative total returns.  In Read more […]

Performance Trickery, part 3

Success is hard to come by for active managers, as readers of our SPIVA reports know well.  Sometimes what appears to be stock selection skill is in fact simply a byproduct of style drift across the capitalization scale. A majority of large-cap active managers outperformed the S&P 500 only 3 times in 19 years of Read more […]

Showtime for Active Managers?

The rapid spread of coronavirus and oil price concerns have whipsawed U.S. equities since the S&P 500® reached its all-time high on Feb. 19, 2020. On March 16, 2020, the index plummeted by 12%, its worst decline since October 1987; as of the close of trading on March 18, 2020, losses for the S&P 500 Read more […]

S&P Composite 1500®: SPIVA

While the iconic S&P 500® is one of the world’s best known benchmarks, the S&P Composite 1500 (comprising the S&P 500, S&P MidCap 400®, and S&P SmallCap 600®) covers a broader spectrum of the capitalization of the U.S. equity market. Though the S&P 500 is often used as a measuring stick for large-cap fund performance Read more […]

Volatility Did Not Help Active Managers’ Persistence Scores

While many investors appear to believe that winners persist over time, the most recent S&P Persistence Scorecard underscores the well-known disclaimer that “past performance is no guarantee of future results”: irrespective of asset class or style focus, few fund managers consistently outperformed their peers. Some market participants believe that active managers with successful track records Read more […]

Stock Pickers: Hope Springs Eternal

The Wall Street Journal recently quoted several active managers who claim that “conditions for stock picking are improving”. Their rationale is that declining correlations among stocks in the S&P 500 have made it easier for active managers to select stocks based on fundamental analysis. We have heard this argument before, most notably in 2014 when, Read more […]