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Tag Archives: Craig Lazzara

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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Dec 2, 2021

Alpha, Omicron: Why?

Over the past week, global financial markets have been roiled by the discovery of the “Omicron” COVID-19 mutation. It’s far too soon to know how much this new variant will impact the world’s economy—but its discovery suggests an interesting thought experiment in, of all things, corporate governance. The experiment is this: suppose Omicron turns out…

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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 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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Jun 9, 2021

Riding the Value Wave

U.S. equity markets seemed to undergo a fundamental change of direction in September of last year. Exhibit 1 illustrates the shift; our growth indices, which had outperformed value handily through the end of August, have lagged ever since. The spreads between growth and value are even greater when we compute them using our Pure Growth…

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May 13, 2021

When Active Management Looks Easier

How can style bias impact the perception of active manager outperformance? S&P DJI’s Craig Lazzara and Anu Ganti discuss how a better understanding of style bias can help market participants interpret active manager performance and our SPIVA results. Learn more: https://www.spglobal.com/spdji/en/research/article/style-bias-and-active-performance/

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May 12, 2021

Equity: Diversity and Inclusion

We can think of an active equity portfolio as a combination of a benchmark (the S&P 500®, for example) and a set of active bets that measure the portfolio’s deviation from the benchmark. The relative size of the active bets is sometimes called “active share,” and is a convenient way to judge a manager’s aggressiveness….

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Apr 29, 2021

Woodstock for Capitalists

Berkshire Hathaway is scheduled to hold its annual shareholders’ meeting this Saturday, May 1. This is the second consecutive year in which the meeting will be virtual; in 2019, attendance was nearly 40,000, which makes social distancing somewhat difficult. We noted two years ago that Berkshire’s investment performance, though formidable over the long run, had…

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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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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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