44 Pages Posted: 5 Nov 2015 Last revised: 5 Oct 2016
Date Written: October 4, 2016
I use exchange traded funds to construct low cost benchmarks for actively managed mutual funds. The benchmarks can be identified in advance, require no leverage or shorting, and require only annual rebalancing. The average fund underperforms its benchmark by 1% per year after expenses, a difference in performance equivalent to a $25 billion per year opportunity cost for investors selecting active management. The fees charged by actively managed funds are the primary reason they underperform. Active management comes at a significant cost, but without any offsetting benefit.
Keywords: Mutual Funds, Benchmarks, Alpha, Expenses, Active, ETF
JEL Classification: G11
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
By Andrew Lo
By Claude Erb