Displaying items by tag: active management
Why Advisors Stick with Mutual Funds
One of the very interesting aspects—which is thoroughly underreported—is that despite the rise of ETFs, mutual funds have held a major portion of market share in the advisor allocation business. One of the trends which has emerged is that the growth of ETFs has not really cost mutual funds as much as one would expect. Rather, advisors have just started to use them in different ways. ETFs are seen as better for broad passive exposure, but when it comes to active management, mutual funds are seen as the superior choice. This helps explain why smart beta and other forms of active ETFs have been relatively unsuccessful.
FINSUM: It is not mutual funds that have suffered from the shift to ETFs, rather it has been variable annuities and individual stocks. This is a quite a positive development for the asset management industry, in our opinion.
The Popularity of Hedge Funds is Soaring
Everyone knows mutual funds have been on the decline and ETFs on the rise as active management gives way to the rise of passives. However, new data throws a wrench into that narrative—hedge funds are surging in popularity. Hedge funds now account for 28% of all alternative asset demands among investors, just one point shy of private equity, and way up from 12% a year ago. The catch is that hedge funds don’t really look like themselves anymore, with new fund structures, such as separately managed accounts and lower fees, that make them more useful for investors. Co-investing is another big growth area, where major investors invest alongside hedge funds in specific deals.
FINSUM: So hedge funds have surged in popularity, but they are not hedge funds, in the same sense, as before. Further, fees are down, with the average being a management fee of 1.45% and a performance fee of 17%.
The Best Small Caps
Small cap stocks have done well this year, and many are growing more interested in the area following underperformance in the last few years. With that in mind, here are some picks from a top global small caps fund manager. The first thing to know is that international small caps are one of the few areas where active management adds value because many companies are poorly covered by analysts. The other thing to know is that at small caps the CEO really makes a difference in a way that is impossible at much larger organizations. The manager picks shares like Japan’s Horiba, or ABC-MART, or Britain’s Electrocomponents.
FINSUM: Picking international small caps is definitely an area where management needs to be outsourced to a specialist, and to be honest, this fund’s (Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US Small-Cap) picks and approach were to us impressive.
Why Asset Managers Should Pay Investors to Manage Their Money
In what comes as an interesting article, Bloomberg has published a piece arguing that instead of the status quo, asset managers should be paying investors for the chance to manage their money. The idea comes from Mercer, a top asset management consultant, and argues that to overcome the problems plaguing active management, investors should agree to pay out a fixed percentage return to investors over a certain timeframe, with the manager keeping any excess that is produced. “We keep getting told by managers that their value creation process tends to be longer than the typical horizon of an investor … This in turn leads to short-termism. Under the new model their investment time horizon can be aligned to their value creation process”.
FINSUM: This would be a total reconceptualization of the way the industry works. The big question is how the investor would get paid if the manager fails to meet the minimum payout. It sounds like third party insurers would have to take part. This is a very interesting proposition.
The Best Actively Managed ETFs
The actively managed ETF used to be a rare breed, and one that didn’t even make sense so long ago. However, with the rise of the asset class has come an explosion of variety, and especially, the overlaying of themes into ETFs. With all that said, the difficulty is choosing the best actively managed ETFs. Here are some to look at: Fidelity’s Total Bond fund, Davis Worldwide Select fund, Vanguard U.S. Multifactor, the iShares Russell 1000 Growth, JPMorgan Disciplined High Yield, iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond.
FINSUM: This is an interesting mix of funds, and most have expense ratios under 0.65%. Generally speaking, we like the idea of actively managed ETFs so long as the fees stay low.