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Active vs passive debate

3 out of 5 European actively managed funds underperform, says S&P



S&P said the indices it manages outperformed active stock funds in Europe between January and June 2021. Library picture: AntonSAN / Shutterstock.com

S&P said the indices it manages outperformed active stock funds in Europe between January and June 2021. Library picture: AntonSAN / Shutterstock.com

More than two-thirds of actively managed European equity funds underperformed against benchmark indices during the first six months of 2021, although active funds fared better over a year-long timeframe, a major financial data firm has reported.

S&P Dow Jones Indices said that 71% of actively managed European equity funds underperformed against its S&P Europe 350 index in the first half of the year.

The biggest differences were recorded in France (with 85% of actively managed French stock funds outpaced by the S&P France BMI index) and in euro-denominated emerging market equities (73% vs the S&P/IFCI Composite). The smallest gaps were found in Italy (21% vs the S&P Italy BMI) and Denmark (28% vs the S&P Denmark BMI).

Actively managed funds performed better over a one-year timeframe, S&P Global noted. However, active funds lost their edge over longer timeframes:

The Europe-wide figure was 42% in the first half of 2020, “during which the pandemic first sent markets plummeting. These figures could support the notion that active managers may perform relatively better in uncertain times,” according to the “Spiva Europe Scorecard” (Spiva stands for S&P Indices Versus Active Funds) released on 8 October.