Tag Archives: active management

A Way of Seeing

A wise man told me years ago that sometimes the things we see are less important than our way of seeing.  As more formerly-active investors begin to use passive vehicles, it’s useful to consider if there’s a distinctly index-centric way of seeing, and what its elements might be.  I think that there are at least Read more […]

The Gift of a Benevolent Providence

Suppose that I buy a popular exchange traded fund (ETF) tracking the S&P 500® today, leave it in my brokerage account for 20 years, and then sell it.  What return should I expect?  The answer, obviously, is that my return should reflect the movements in the S&P 500 (net of fees) over my 20-year holding Read more […]

Have Passive AUMs Eclipsed Active?

“You all did see that on the Lupercal I thrice presented him a kingly crown, Which he did thrice refuse.” Julius Caesar, Act 3 This morning’s Wall Street Journal declared that “Index Funds Are the New Kings of Wall Street.”  The coronation, and similar notes of the “end of an era,” were prompted by Morningstar Read more […]

Mapping the S&P 500 Trading Ecosystem

A new paper published today provides a new perspective on the active usage of products linked to S&P DJI indices, and illustrates the network of liquidity that has developed around the S&P 500® and other popular benchmarks. “Active” and “passive” are colloquial terms, and it can be hard to distinguish one from the other at Read more […]

Size Matters for Active Large-Cap Fund Performance

Over the 15-year period ending March 31, 2019, the biggest 25% of active large-cap equity funds managed about 90% of all the assets under management (AUM) held in active large-cap equity funds. This may suggest that investors’ fund selections skew toward larger funds. But is bigger always better? This topic has been widely debated: although Read more […]

Concentration Concerns

Readers of this morning’s Wall Street Journal learned (on the front page, no less) that many of the largest investors in the U.S. equity market hold similar portfolios.  “The overlap in the top 50 stockholdings between mutual funds and hedge funds…now stands at near-record levels, a study by Bank of America Merrill Lynch found.”  An Read more […]

Unreliable Investment Strategies

S&P Dow Jones Indices produces a semi-annual report comparing the performance of active managers to their target indices or benchmarks. The report is referred to as the SPIVA Scorecard (SPIVA standing for S&P Indices Versus Active Managers).  So, what does the SPIVA Scorecard tell us about performance?  As illustrated in the table above, for any regional equity class Read more […]

Buffetted Performance

Tomorrow, Warren Buffett and 30,000 of his closest friends will gather in Omaha for Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting.  The loyalty of long-term Berkshire shareholders is the stuff of legend, as is the investment performance that produced it.  $100 invested in Berkshire stock at the end of 1968 would have grown to more than $850,000 by Read more […]

Performance Trickery, part 2

Here is a 22-year history of a (hypothetical) actively-managed portfolio and its benchmark: Results have been decisively mediocre. The portfolio outperformed in only five years out of 22, for a hit rate of 22.7%. Its cumulative return (68.2%) lagged that of the benchmark (74.0%), and its volatility was higher (4.79% vs. 4.25%). The manager’s marketing department Read more […]

Confusing Style and Selection

A headline from yesterday was very intriguing: “Why investors crave a return to the art of stock-picking.”  Copious data demonstrate the peril of placing hope in active management.  The article argues that since we seem to be in a trend that favors value, it is a good time for managers to pick stocks based on Read more […]