Active management deemed “alive and well” at Exchange


DDespite predictions that active management is dead, Eric Balchunas, principal ETF analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, believes that active management is actually “alive and alive.”

Moderating a panel on the changing face of active management at Exchange: An ETF Experience on Wednesday, Balchunas said, “Active is alive and well, it’s not dying, it’s just changing shape,” before adding, “We we have themes, smart beta model portfolios, ESG, ETFs – that’s actively trading ETFs – direct indexing, which I think is a form of an asset, so that’s really interesting.”

At Pensions & Investments, Kathie O’Donnell reports that panelist Matt Hougan, Chief Investment Officer of Bitwise Asset Management, said the rise of passive management is “definitely improving the asset” and that active managers “have somehow kinda ruined everything” and had “these huge fees” that could have been lowered.

“I think the undeniable wave of passive management has woken up good active managers to the fact that they need to be more transparent, that they need to be more convinced,” Hougan said. “I think the rise of liabilities has pushed active managers in the right direction.”

The feeling that active management still has a lot to offer is shared by many investors and advisors. After being in the market for just two years, investors have become increasingly comfortable with actively managed ETFs, having injected $21.6 billion net into these funds in the first quarter (11% of all net flows to ETFs during the period).

Boston-based financial adviser Raj Sharma recently told Barron’s that he thinks “this was the golden age of active management”, adding: “Passive management worked when the rising tide lifted all the boats. Now you have an environment where you have winners and losers.

“Advisors are increasingly comfortable with the expertise that active managers can provide with the liquidity and tax-efficiency benefits provided by ETFs,” said ETF Trends head of research Todd. Rosenbluth. “There is still huge room for growth in the years to come.”

T. Rowe Price offers a suite of actively managed ETFs. T. Rowe Price has been in the investment industry for over 80 years conducting hands-on research with companies, utilizing risk management and employing a multitude of experienced portfolio managers averaging 22 years of experience .

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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