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What is active money management?

What is active money management?

In the financial landscape, investment strategies play a crucial role in determining returns. There are various approaches to managing your investment portfolio, and one of the most common is active money management. As an investor, understanding this concept can equip you with essential insights to navigate the financial markets.

Unveiling Active Money Management

Active money management is an investment approach where a professional money manager, an individual investor, or a team of experts actively monitor and manage an investment portfolio. The primary goal is to outperform a designated benchmark or index by employing strategic buy, hold, and sell decisions. This approach requires a blend of market research, economic forecasting, and the application of quantitative tools, combined with seasoned judgment and experience.

Active management transcends simply tracking the performance of an investment portfolio. It may also involve achieving supplementary objectives such as managing risk, mitigating tax consequences, or adhering to Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investing standards. The specific approaches utilized by active managers can vary, with some employing algorithmic tactics while others rely on discretionary decisions or a mixture of both.

Active vs. Passive Management: The Enduring Debate

Active money management stands in contrast to passive management or indexing. The latter follows a strategy aimed at mirroring the performance of a particular market index. Passive management advocates argue that this approach circumvents potential pitfalls associated with human biases, leading to superior performance.

However, the active vs. passive management debate remains ongoing, with no consensus on which strategy yields better results. While many economists and financial experts believe in market efficiency—that is, all available information is already incorporated into securities prices, making it impossible to consistently outperform the market—active management proponents argue otherwise.

They hold that markets can never be fully efficient because some information might be challenging to discern or not widely accessible. Active managers often exploit these potential market inefficiencies in sectors like emerging markets, small-cap stocks, value stocks, high-yield corporate bonds, or specialized sectors such as oil and gas industry MLPs.

Critiques and the Case for Active Management

Detractors of active management have increased in recent years, particularly with the rise of computational power enhancing the efficacy of index investing, providing a lower-cost alternative to active management. Critics often point to statistics that highlight the average performance of active managers rather than the top performers, arguing that their successes over the index are short-lived.

Nonetheless, proponents of active management stress that the gains from successful periods can be reinvested or rebalanced to other active management funds better positioned based on current conditions. They assert that the investor holds the reins, responsible for monitoring the management and making independent decisions to maintain diversification.

In this light, a blend of active and passive strategies could serve investors well, providing the potential outperformance of active management while hedging with the market-tracking stability of passive strategies.

The Role of Active Management in Modern Investing

Active money management has an essential role in modern investing, allowing investors to aim for higher returns and manage risk effectively. It encourages investor involvement, fosters financial acumen, and provides opportunities for robust portfolio performance.

However, it's worth noting that active management requires a considerable time commitment, market understanding, and financial expertise to effectively implement. Therefore, investors considering this approach should be ready to engage with the financial markets actively, continually analyze market trends, and make timely investment decisions. Active money management is a dynamic, hands-on investment approach aimed at outperforming a specific benchmark or index. While the strategy involves more engagement and carries higher costs compared to passive management, it offers the potential for higher returns and the ability to exploit market inefficiencies. Whether you choose active management, passive management, or a combination of both, it's crucial to align your investment strategy with your financial goals, risk tolerance, and investment horizon.

Summary

Active management is when an investor or money manager attempts to outperform an index or benchmark, using tactical strategies.

Many economists and financial professionals believe that the markets are efficient. This means that all available financial information has already been built into the prices of securities, and that you cannot outperform the market by making specific selections of stocks, timing the market, reallocating your assets regularly, following the advice of market pundits, or finding the best portfolio managers.

An alternative investment religion is based on the fact that markets will never be completely efficient, because there will always be some information that is either difficult to ascertain or is not widely available.

Emerging markets, small cap stocks, value picks, high yield corporate bonds (“junk bonds”), and highly specialized sectors such as oil and gas industry MLPs are some of the areas in particular that active managers are able to find and exploit price inefficiencies through research and expertise.

There are many detractors from this idea these days, especially as computational power makes index investing a better and better mimic, or low-cost alternative, to active management. Statistics which detract from this idea typically use the average performance of active managers instead of the best ones, and attempt to show any wins they experience over the index are not going to persist for long.

Remember, though, that the gains from that period can be rebalanced elsewhere or invested in another active management fund that is well-positioned based on the current conditions.

The investor bears the burden of monitoring the management and making independent choices that maintain diversification. You can be your own judge, but ultimately a mixture of active and passive strategies is probably going to serve you well.

At Tickeron, we advocate in favor of active management and will help you find actively managers that are likely to serve you well.

What Can I Do to Make My Portfolio Grow Faster?
What is the Difference Between Active and Passive Money Management?

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