Should you hire an active manager to oversee your assets? Or should you handle the investing yourself with ETFs and/or a ‘set-and-forget’ passive strategy?
The answer to this question is not definitive, and it really depends on what type of investor you are. It may also, interestingly, depend on when you’re trying to decide—more on that later.
In this post, I’ll make the case for both approaches to investment management.
When You Should Favor Active Management
If you’re the type of investor who:
Then active management is probably the right choice for you. But seeking out an active manager doesn’t mean you’ll always get those things—not all active managers are created equal.
A well-known academic study of a 20-year period from 1990 through 2009 looked at returns of active managers relative to their respective benchmarks, and found that net of fees the active managers underperformed by about 40 basis points per year. Interestingly, the study concluded that in periods when equity-market returns were 10% or higher, only about 30% of active managers outperformed their benchmarks.
So at this point, you may be thinking, why hire an active manager at all? Two reasons. First is that when the researchers looked closer, they found that truly active managers actually performed quite well. The most active 20% of managers, which the study called “diversified stock pickers,” outperformed their benchmarks by 126 basis points per year. The key takeaway here for investors is that active managers who actually trade regularly and have proven track records may be the ones to seek out.
The second reason is that active managers tend to thrive in tighter markets, when returns are subdued and there’s not much alpha out there to be had. In periods when market returns were under 10%, over 50% of active managers outperformed.
That’s why I mentioned earlier that it might matter when you’re asking about whether active is better than passive. In an environment when market returns looking forward are expected to be low – perhaps such as now given we’re nine years into the bull market and valuations are stretched – then active managers could deliver.
When You Should Favor Passive Management
If you’re the type of investor who:
Then passive investment is probably the right choice for you. With active management, there’s always a chance that the manager you hire will let you down, underperform the market, and mistime/mismanage a market downturn (or upturn). With passive management, your portfolio tracks the ups and downs of the market, and you participate in just about every price swing.
At its core, passive investment means purchasing an ETF that tracks an index, such as the S&P 500. For an investor who is truly passive, there is only one action item to take: purchase an ETF that tracks the index and never sell it. Over very long stretches of time (20+ years), the S&P 500 has proven to deliver attractive returns, the question is whether the passive investor can manage not to abandon the strategy in the heat of a bear market. That’s where “patience” and keeping emotions in check is critical.
Are You an Active or Passive Investor?
In reality, most investors are active investors. We have too much desire to outperform and are driven all too often by new investment ideas and attractive trades. It’s human nature. Perhaps the key is to be an active investor who also removes emotion completely from the equation, so you avoid unnecessary mistakes. You can do that by hiring an investment manager or using Artificial Intelligence (Robo-Advisors) to help you manage your portfolio over time. You can find both on tickeron.com.
The 10-day RSI Indicator for SPY moved out of overbought territory on February 13, 2024. This could be a sign that the stock is shifting from an upward trend to a downward trend. Traders may want to look at selling the stock or buying put options. Tickeron's A.I.dvisor looked at 46 instances where the indicator moved out of the overbought zone. In of the 46 cases the stock moved lower in the days that followed. This puts the odds of a move down at .
The Stochastic Oscillator has been in the overbought zone for 2 days. Expect a price pull-back in the near future.
Following a 3-day decline, the stock is projected to fall further. Considering past instances where SPY declined for three days, the price rose further in of 62 cases within the following month. The odds of a continued downward trend are .
SPY broke above its upper Bollinger Band on February 22, 2024. This could be a sign that the stock is set to drop as the stock moves back below the upper band and toward the middle band. You may want to consider selling the stock or exploring put options.
The Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD) for SPY just turned positive on February 23, 2024. Looking at past instances where SPY's MACD turned positive, the stock continued to rise in of 50 cases over the following month. The odds of a continued upward trend are .
Following a 3-day Advance, the price is estimated to grow further. Considering data from situations where SPY advanced for three days, in of 357 cases, the price rose further within the following month. The odds of a continued upward trend are .
The Aroon Indicator entered an Uptrend today. In of 448 cases where SPY Aroon's Indicator entered an Uptrend, the price rose further within the following month. The odds of a continued Uptrend are .
The average fundamental analysis ratings, where 1 is best and 100 is worst, are as follows
|ETFs / NAME
|Robo Global® Artificial Intelligence ETF
|Nuveen Global Net Zero Transition ETF
|Janus Henderson Mortgage-Backed Sec ETF
|Putnam ESG Core Bond ETF
|Overlay Shares Core Bond ETF
A.I.dvisor indicates that over the last year, SPY has been closely correlated with IVV. These tickers have moved in lockstep 100% of the time. This A.I.-generated data suggests there is a high statistical probability that if SPY jumps, then IVV could also see price increases.