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Active vs. Passive

Jun 16 2021

Schrödinger’s Style Box

  • Jun 16, 2021

The performance derby between actively managed portfolios and passive benchmarks is strongly influenced by market conditions.  Active manager success rates are cyclical, but not random, and are driven by slippage created from style, size, and weighting considerations that result from the imperfect slotting of active portfolios into single style boxes.  Moreover, this slippage can be defined and measured, and shows a clear correlation with relative return spreads between benchmarks and their opposite boxes.

Jun 04 2021

Research Preview: Is “Manager Skill” Cyclical?

  • Jun 4, 2021

The active-passive performance derby is cyclical, determined not by the ebb and flow of portfolio managers’ brilliance but, rather, by market conditions and the slippage that arises from imperfectly comparing funds and benchmarks. 

May 12 2021

Active Vs. Passive Return Drivers March 2021 Update

  • May 12, 2021

Our ongoing research into the relative performance of active vs. passive styles reveals that market conditions play a significant role in the active/passive return cycle. We identified a set of metrics that describe the market conditions we believe influence which management style is more likely to outperform. This note updates our data through March 2021.

May 26 2020

The Active Goose, The Passive Gander

  • May 26, 2020

Raise your hand if you’ve heard this one before:

        (A)  80% of active funds underperformed their index over the past 10 years.

Now, keep your hand up if you have also heard this:

        (C)  Therefore, investors should buy passive index funds.

Apr 06 2020

Is Passive Ownership Exacerbating The Sell-Off?

  • Apr 6, 2020

With the enormous popularity of ETFs, we’ve wondered if the high level of passive fund ownership could lead to stock price deviation from company fundamentals, and thus create greater price volatility.

Feb 01 2019

John Bogle: Investment Philosopher

  • Feb 1, 2019

The passing of investment legend John Bogle has brought forth many well-deserved tributes to his professional accomplishments. He was a tireless champion of passive investing and the founder of The Vanguard Group which, as more than a few investors don’t realize, also manages almost $1 trillion in active funds.

Aug 10 2018

Active vs. Passive Return Drivers - June 2018 Update

  • Aug 10, 2018

Our ongoing research into the relative performance of Active vs. Passive fund styles is based on the belief that just as market conditions cycle, so does the active-passive return spread.

Feb 09 2018

Active vs. Passive Return Drivers: Updated Through Year-End 2017

  • Feb 9, 2018

Our ongoing research into the relative performance of Active vs. Passive fund styles is based on the belief that just as market conditions cycle, so does the active-passive return spread..

Aug 05 2017

Actively Bearish, Passively Bullish?

  • Aug 5, 2017

Relative performance of active and passive mutual funds is one of the leading story lines in our industry, with passive’s recent advantage leading some to argue that it will be the dominant style forevermore. We disagree, and believe that the active/passive relationship has been, and always will be, cyclical.

Jul 20 2017

Active/Passive Return Drivers: July 2017 Update

  • Jul 20, 2017

Last July we published a study titled Active vs. Passive: A Three-Club Headwind that examined the recent performance advantage of passive indexes over actively managed funds.