By and large, both investors and fund professionals rely heavily on past performance in their fund selection process. The problem is that past performance is of little use in identifying funds or managers who will deliver superior future performance relative to their peer group. Numerous studies have failed to unearth a significant positive correlation between past relative performance and future relative performance. The only correlation found has been the consistency of managers with very bad returns to continue to post bad returns in the future.
Our experience evaluating active managers leaves us less than surprised by the inability of winners to consistently repeat. Our research indicates that even skilled managers’ past success often sows the seeds of their future underperformance. There are a variety of reasons that we have identified as to why maintaining an investment edge is difficult:
The fact that track records are not useful in predicting future relative performance is the basis on which index fund proponents conclude that low cost index funds are the better choice. But we disagree with the underlying premise. The fact that track records are not predictive is not tantamount to concluding that superior future performers can’t be identified in advance. It simply means that the track record does not provide sufficient information to do so. Our approach to fund research recognizes that past performance is useful only as a tool for screening funds to identify those that may be worthy of further research. Value added comes from identifying why a fund performed well in the past, determining if the portfolio management team has an identifiable edge and assessing whether the edge (if one exists) is sustainable.
Gretchen Hollstein Featured in Barron’s “How to Invest for a Post-COVID World”
Senior Advisor Gretchen Hollstein, CFP® was highlighted in a recent Barron’s article, which featured a select group of investment professionals responding to how they are modifying clients’ portfolios given the current environment.
A Sustainable Investing Lexicon
From its origin in socially responsible and values-based strategies, sustainable investing today offers a broad universe of options that help pair investment goals with positive outcomes for society and the planet. With more tools than ever to support our clients in building sustainability into their investments, we want to share our thinking on this evolving space. A good place to start is simply defining terms.
Advisor Showcase: Guiding Clients Through Pandemic-Driven Uncertainty
Litman Gregory’s senior advisors were featured in North Bay Business Journal’s report on wealth managers. The survey posed questions about the impact of COVID-19 on client relationships, common mistakes investors make in times of great uncertainty, and more. In this post, we share a selection of responses from members of our advisory team.