Active Management is Alive and Well

An article in last month’s Enterprising Investor outlines some interesting insights into how active management is “alive, thriving and adding value across trillions of dollars of assets worldwide.”

The author cites research showing that “focused” active managers—those specializing in certain asset classes, sectors, etc.—can outperform index funds. One example cited is that of smaller, earlier-stage companies where “the dispersion of returns is wide and failure rates can be high.” The article references a study showing that sector-specific private equity managers outperformed “generalists” which, it says, “suggests that a scattergun approach will backfire in private markets.”

Bond index issues are addressed, particularly those concerning credit quality, structural issues, and idiosyncrasies of the underlying debt instruments. Investment strategies such as private equity, venture capital, distressed debt and the issues relevant to their management are also explained.

“It’s hard to beat some indexes,” the author argues, but adds, “that doesn’t mean it’s hard to beat an index.”