Tag Archives: active management

Mar 30, 2021

Opportunity Does Not Equal Attainment

We’ve previously argued that most managers should prefer above-average correlation, because the incremental volatility a manager accepts to pursue an active strategy will be lower when correlations are high. In addition, active managers should prefer above-average dispersion, because stock selection skill is worth more when dispersion is high. Both correlation and dispersion rose in 2020….

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Mar 25, 2021

Risk-Adjusted SPIVA Year-End 2020 Scorecard: No Evidence to Support Superior Risk Management Skills of Active Managers

Modern Portfolio Theory tells us that higher returns tend to be associated with higher risk. Active managers tend to boast about their risk management skills and claim that they can generate higher returns than passive funds on a risk-adjusted basis. The Risk-Adjusted SPIVA® Scorecard assesses the risk-adjusted returns of actively managed funds against their benchmarks…

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Mar 18, 2021

Highlights of the SPIVA Canada Year-End 2020 Scorecard

Although 2020 was a year that offered ample opportunities for stock pickers to shine, most Canadian active fund managers in five of the seven categories tracked by the SPIVA® Canada Year-End 2020 Scorecard underperformed their benchmarks over the past year. The Canadian equity market was not spared from the COVID-19 shock in 2020. Nevertheless, major…

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Mar 18, 2021

SPIVA and Style

Last week S&P Dow Jones Indices released its SPIVA® U.S. Year-End 2020 Scorecard. As has been the case for 17 of the past 20 calendar years, the majority of active large-cap managers underperformed the S&P 500®. Performance was better for mid- and small-cap managers, as Exhibit 1 shows. What caused the advantage for smaller-capitalization strategies?…

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Mar 11, 2021

SPIVA U.S. Year-End 2020 Scorecard: Passive Continued Its Winning Streak

In a year that brought a pandemic, volatility, and policy stimulus, asset prices rose nearly across the board. However, positive absolute returns did not necessarily translate into success for active managers relative to their benchmarks. According to the SPIVA® U.S. Year-End 2020 Scorecard, most active fund managers in the U.S. underperformed their benchmarks over the…

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Feb 23, 2021

Man Bites Dog: The Year for Active Management?

For at least five years, we’ve noticed that, despite historical performance, active managers regularly proclaim that this year will at last be the time when active management shows its value. I suspect that most advocates of indexing derive at least some guilty pleasure from observing this ritual. (I know I do.) So, we want to…

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Feb 3, 2021

Efficient Markets and Irrational Exuberance

Recent headlines have reflected the extraordinary behavior of GameStop Corp.; the company’s stock rose from $18.84 at year-end 2020 to $325 at the close on Jan. 29, 2021, then declined to $90 in the first two trading days of February. At year-end, GameStop was the 314th largest stock in the S&P SmallCap 600®. By the…

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Jan 13, 2021

Oscillations in Opportunity

2020 was a year of two reversals for the market. First, equities recovered from the depths of March to finish the year strongly, and second, smaller-cap and value stocks staged a roaring comeback in the final quarter. We can better understand the second reversal by analyzing the market’s distribution of returns and the performance of…

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Dec 9, 2020

The Distribution of Alpha

Investment management is a zero sum game. The source of outperformance for a market’s outperformers is the underperformance of the same market’s underperformers. Properly measured, the weighted average sum of the winners’ gains is exactly equal (before costs) to the weighted average sum of the losers’ losses. This identity, along with the professionalization of the…

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Dec 1, 2020

The Dangers of Extrapolation

The contrasts between the first 10 months of 2020 and the month of November were vivid. Consider: At the end of October, the year-to-date total return of the S&P 500® was barely positive (2.77%), but was well ahead of the returns of the S&P MidCap 400® (-6.63%) and the S&P SmallCap 600® (-13.06%). In November,…

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