Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Active Management: A Review of the Past 20 Years of Academic Literature on Actively Managed Mutual Funds
Financial Analysts Journal, Vol. 75, No. 4 (Fourth Quarter 2019)
50 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2018 Last revised: 30 Oct 2019
Date Written: May 31, 2019
Just over 20 years have passed since the publication of Carhart’s landmark 1997 study on mutual funds. Its conclusion—that the data did “not support the existence of skilled or informed mutual fund portfolio managers”—was the capstone of an academic literature beginning with Jensen (1968) that formed the ‘conventional wisdom’ that active management does not create value for investors. In this paper, we review the literature on active mutual fund management since the publication of Carhart (1997) to assess the extent to which current research still supports the conventional wisdom. Our review of the most recent literature suggests that the conventional wisdom is too negative on the value of active management.
Keywords: Active Management, Mutual Funds, Skill, Alpha, Value
JEL Classification: G10, G11, G14, G20, G23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation