A First: U.S. Passive Matches Active AUM

As of the end of April, assets in passive domestic stock funds reached the level of those held by active managers–$4.3 trillion. This according to an article in Institutional Investor.

“According to Morningstar,” the article reports, “parity between active and passive has been the inevitable result of twelve years of relentless outflows from active funds coupled with a steady flow into passive assets.”

The trend, the article says, represents a signal that the industry has been “permanently changed” by the idea introduced by Vanguard founder Jack Bogle decades ago and is at the center of the “gloomy forecast for the future of asset management.”

The article cites comments from Morningstar that “the brutal bear market of the financial crisis appeared to change the landscape for good.”

Still, the article concludes, investors prefer active strategies in those sections of the market where “information is less available and trading is more difficult,” including municipal bonds, international stocks and taxable bond funds.