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Tag Archives: Active vs. Passive

Jan 12, 2022

No Safe Harbor for Stockpickers

We can use volatility and its components dispersion and correlation to analyze stock selection conditions globally. Most active managers run less diversified, more volatile portfolios than their index counterparts. Active managers should prefer above-average dispersion because stock selection skill is worth more when dispersion is high. The role of correlation is more subtle. While counterintuitive,…

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Dec 20, 2021

Active Management: Naughty or Nice?

The history of active investment management is, for the most part, a history of failure and frustration. Most active managers underperform most of the time, and success in one period seems not to predict subsequent success. We have long argued that active underperformance is not coincidental—it happens for identifiable and understandable reasons, and is therefore…

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Nov 16, 2021

No Time to Thrive

S&P DJI has just released the final regional edition of our S&P Index Versus Active (SPIVA®) Mid-Year 2021 Scorecards. The semiannual reports cover the performance of actively managed funds in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, Europe, South Africa, India, Japan, Australia, and our newest regional addition, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). SPIVA Scorecards…

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Nov 16, 2021

Let’s Talk about Survivorship – SPIVA Latin America Scorecard

The saying goes, “What does not kill you makes you stronger,” but could that strength translate into a greater chance of survival? Perhaps, especially if all future risks were equal or sufficiently similar to the one that was survived—assuming, of course, that one learned from that first experience. The survival of mutual funds could follow…

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Nov 3, 2021

The S&P SmallCap 600 Turns 27

The S&P SmallCap 600® celebrated its birthday last week, marking 27 years since its launch on Oct. 28, 1994. Designed to reflect the performance of small-cap U.S. equities, the index’s cumulative total returns have been affected by trends and narratives impacting the equities segment, historically. For example, Exhibit 1 shows that the S&P 600™ was…

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Oct 12, 2021

Risk Parity 2.0 Performance Review

In our two previous blogs on risk parity 2.0 (see here and here), we covered the philosophy and methodological differences between the original S&P Risk Parity Indices and the newly launched S&P Risk Parity 2.0 Indices. This third and final installment of this series now looks at the performance and attribution statistics of the S&P…

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Sep 30, 2021

Why Benchmarks Matter

I recently had the pleasure of participating in a webinar on the basics of passive management. A portfolio manager in the audience posed an important question which I’ll paraphrase: “If my goal is to earn a return of X%, why is an index’s performance relevant?” Otherwise said, if I want to earn a particular absolute…

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Sep 27, 2021

Mid- and Small-Cap Fund Managers Lost Their Advantage – SPIVA U.S. Mid-Year 2021 Scorecard

The SPIVA® U.S. Mid-Year Scorecard continues to show that active funds’ strong absolute returns do not always translate into relative success compared with their benchmarks. In 15 out of 18 categories of domestic equity funds, the majority of actively managed funds underperformed their benchmarks. Over the 12-month period ending June 30, 2021, 58% of large-cap…

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Sep 23, 2021

The Importance of Order

We all know that stock market returns vary substantially over time. For example, the S&P 500®’s performance between 1981 and 2020 ranged from -37% (2008) to +38% (1995). The market’s compound annual return for this period was 11.5%. Investors, however, live with actual portfolio values, not abstract rates of return. Obviously, and other things equal,…

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Sep 13, 2021

Headwinds on the Active Horizon

Active managers’ performance was disappointing in 2020, despite the market’s heightened volatility. As the market continues to march upward in 2021, it’s natural to wonder if current conditions are favorable for stock pickers.  We expect active managers’ difficulties to persist. We can think of volatility in terms of its components: dispersion and correlation. Active managers…

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