Active Managers Council: The Year in Review
January 10, 2020
The Active Managers Council (AMC) had a very productive 2019. In its effort to balance the narrative around active management, the Council developed three new white papers, engaged with media, imprinted effective messaging, and met with policymakers to advocate a level playing field.
To reinforce these concepts, the AMC sponsored and published three major papers in support of active management:
- “A More Balanced Narrative: Setting the Record Straight on Active Management” by Dave Lafferty of Natixis. This white paper discusses, among other topics, how the SPIVA and Morningstar scorecards have helped create a false dichotomy between active and passive.
- “Active Investing and the Efficiency of Security Markets” by Russ Wermers.
- “Active Management and Market Efficiency: A Summary of the Academic Literature” (Council white paper).
These papers built upon 2018’s successful research: “Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Active Management,” by Martijn Cremers, Jon Fulkerson and Tim Riley. This academic paper has received over 11,500 abstract views and 3,300 downloads on SSRN.
Media coverage related to the active and passive conversation came in many forms in 2019. The Council’s messaging has been gaining traction. More balanced coverage was found across investing and trade press, including:
- Wealth Professional(Canada), Is the active-vs-passive story really open-and-shut?
- Ignites, Group Gears Up to Fight ‘False Dichotomy’ in the Active vs Passive Debate
- WealthManagement.com, Active Managers Contribute to an Efficient Market
- InvestmentNews, Advisers defend active investment management on Capitol Hill
- Ignites(Opinion), Restoring Balance, And Accuracy, With a New Narrative on Active Management
- Bloomberg, Passive Investing Hasn’t Taken Over the World
- US News & World Report, Active Vs. Passive Investing: Which to Use and When
To further illustrate and frame the topic for investors and policy makers, the Council produced a growing library of videos highlighting a more balanced approach to active and passive investing. Videos, which can be found on the AMC YouTube channel include:
- Dave Lafferty, AMC Chair and Natixis Investment Managers Senior Vice President and Chief Market Strategist discusses “A more balanced narrative”
- Russ Wermers, Professor of Finance, Director, Center for Financial Policy, Smith School of Business, University of Maryland discusses “Active Investing and the Efficiency of Security Markets“
- Anne Lester, Portfolio Manager, Head of Retirement Solutions, J.P. Morgan Asset Management discusses “Changing the Narrative on Active/Passive”
- Mike Cross, Senior Analyst & Principal, SouthernSun Asset Management discusses “Know What You Own, Know the Risks”
Equally important were the efforts of the AMC’s Policy Task Force who engaged elected officials on Capitol Hill and beyond, ensuring the rights of investors were upheld and legislators were not putting their thumbs on the scale in favor of one type of investment or another. Efforts included:
- Meetings with U.S. Treasury, SEC and Department of Labor Officials, recently including a very productive meeting with high level DOL officials.
- Meetings with U.S. Congressional Senate, House of Representatives committee and legislators’ staffs in Washington, DC
- Ongoing outreach non-US trade groups to share our mission and message
- Comment letters on portable retirement accounts and FCA Consultation Paper 18/9
Clearly 2019 was a productive year, but there is still much work to be done to counter the conventional wisdom on active and passive investing. Inside the conversation exists a more nuanced understanding of the pros and cons of both active and passive investing styles with each playing an important role in investors’ portfolios.