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Majority of active fund managers under-perform benchmarks, says S&P

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Over the five year market cycle from 2004 to 2008, the Standard & Poor’s Index Versus Active Fund Scorecard shows that the S&P 500 outperformed 71.9 per cent of actively managed

Over the five year market cycle from 2004 to 2008, the Standard & Poor’s Index Versus Active Fund Scorecard shows that the S&P 500 outperformed 71.9 per cent of actively managed large cap funds.

The S&P MidCap 400 outperformed 75.9 per cent of mid cap funds, and the S&P SmallCap 600 outperformed 85.5 per cent of small cap funds. These results are similar to that of the previous five year cycle from 1999 to 2003.

‘The belief that bear markets strongly favour active management is a myth,’ says Srikant Dash, global head of research and design at Standard & Poor’s (pictured). ‘A majority of active funds in each of the nine domestic equity style boxes were outperformed by indices during the down markets of 2008. The bear market of 2000 to 2002 showed similar outcomes.’

The scorecard shows similar results for international equity and fixed income funds. Benchmark indices outperformed a majority of actively managed fixed income funds in all categories over a five-year horizon. Five year benchmark relative shortfall ranged from two to three per cent per annum for municipal bond funds to one to five per cent per annum for investment grade bond funds.

Among international equity funds, indices outperformed a majority of actively managed non-US equity funds over the past five years in the four categories studied, including emerging market funds.

The scorecard reveals quarterly performance data for US equity, international and fixed income mutual funds benchmarked against appropriate asset class indices. More than 3,500 actively managed funds are covered in the scorecard.

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