Swensen on The Active/Passive Debate

Yale endowment guru David Swensen says investors should either be totally active or totally passive in managing their money.

“There are two sensible approaches to investing — either 100 percent active or 100 percent passive,” Swensen said at the John C. Bogle Legacy Forum hosted by Bloomberg Link, according to Bloomberg. Unless an investor has access to “incredibly high- qualified professionals,” they “should be 100 percent passive — that includes almost all individual investors and most institutional investors,” he said.

A big reason is that most funds are focused more on compiling fees than on increasing returns for clients, Swensen said. He also criticized the high fees that many hedge funds charge, and offered a critical take on high-frequency traders. “I’ve always viewed high-frequency trading as a tax on the rest of us,” he said. “A bunch of smart people taking advantage of order-execution rules as opposed to doing something good for the market place.”