S&P: Most active funds fail to survive past 10 years

Fewer than half of all UK equity funds manage to survive longer than 10 years, according to the latest research from ratings agency S&P.

Portfolio Adviser


The figures, from the S&P’s SPIVA Europe Scorecard, show that of the 535 UK equity funds active in 2006, only 46% were still up and running by the end of last year.

The survivorship measure used in the SPIVA report represents the percentage of funds that operate at the beginning of a 10-year time period against those still active at the end.

It showed European equity funds also struggled with only 39% of those denominated in sterling surviving past 10 years.

US equity funds fared little better with only 41% going the distance.

The survivorship measure is used to help compare the performance of active funds against passive funds by removing the bias of only comparing the returns of funds that did survive the period.

Daniel Ung, director of global research and design at the S&P, said: “Many funds might liquidate or merge during a period of study.

“This usually occurs due to continued poor performance by the fund.

“Therefore, if index returns were compared to fund returns using only surviving funds, the comparison would be biased in favour of the fund category.”

The latest research follows earlier headline numbers which showed the majority of active funds fail to outperform their benchmark, with 87% of active UK equity funds failing to do so last year.

The SPIVA Europe Scorecard aims to make a “meaningful contribution” to the debate on active versus passive investing by examining segments of the market.

Ung added: “Many funds might be liquidated or merged during a period of study. However, for someone making an investment decision at the beginning of the period, these funds are part of the opportunity set.

“Unlike other commonly available comparison reports, SPIVA Scorecards account for the entire opportunity set – not just the survivors – thereby eliminating survivorship bias.”


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