Few investment topics are as hotly debated as the merits of active and passive investing. The debate will continue to ebb and flow with the regular cycles of active managers' collective out- or underperformance relative to their benchmarks and a fast-growing and rapidly evolving field of passive alternatives. In order to ground this debate with data that reflects investors' shared experience, Morningstar is starting to publish an Active/Passive Barometer. This is a semiannual report that measures the performance of U.S. active managers against their passive peers within their respective Morningstar Categories.
The Active/Passive Barometer finds that actively managed funds have
generally underperformed their passive counterparts, especially over
longer time horizons, and experienced higher mortality rates (that is,
many are merged or closed). In addition, the report finds that failure
tends to be positively correlated with fees.