2017 is the year for active over passive – Square Mile’s Hasler

With Donald Trump in the White House, the imminent triggering of Article 50 and a wave of elections across Europe 2017 is set to be a year “marked by volatility”, but that isn’t necessarily bad news for active managers according to Square Mile’s head of research Victoria Hasler.

2017 is the year for active over passive - Square Mile's Hasler


The multitude of shocks last year – coupled with the unexpectedly muted market reaction – has left even seasoned analysts scratching their heads as to what could happen in 2017, but one thing Hasler is certain of is that it will be rocky ride.

“It’s going to be a hard year to know where to put your money. A lot of people have asked me, where do you go? And I don’t think there’s an obvious answer,” she said.

“One thing I would say is when you have volatility that’s a good environment for active managers.

“In a more difficult environment it can be that good active managers could spot opportunities to make some more money for clients.”

The prospect of heightened volatility prompts Hasler to steer investors away from passive funds, at least for the time being, and opt instead for high quality managers who can pick and choose funds and avoid the pitfalls of things such as interest rate hikes.

“If you think about the US where Trump policies could benefit some areas, such as healthcare, and if you are worried about market volatility then an active manager can use it to invest,” Hasler added.

“This coming year, if you think interest rates are going up you don’t want passives, you want an active manager to avoid the impact of interest rates rises.”

Hasler’s bearish stance toward passives in 2017 comes as figures from the Investment Association show passive funds now make up 13.4% of all funds under management, up from 11.5% a year ago, and although Hasler has no problem with the style of fund she believes it’s a trend that could stall this year.

“You should look at passive funds like you would any other fund, you should weigh up the benefits,” she said: “People talk about passives because they are cheap, but it should be about value for money. Are you going to get more value for money paying for a good active manager?”




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