You can hear their advocates yelling from the rooftops, and from every podium they can access. The global trend in funds management is overwhelmingly towards low-cost passive funds. There is a school of thought (often communicated more like a religion) that says active managers cannot beat the market on an after fees basis, and therefore investors should bank the guarantee of lower fees. Of course this advocacy is often backed with statistics and comparisons from carefully chosen funds over carefully chosen time periods.
This month Fisher Funds celebrates the 21st birthday of its oldest managed fund – the New Zealand Growth Fund. This fund has consistently beaten the market over most (but not all) of its 21 years, and has been very profitable for Fisher Funds clients. The fund has returned 23.7% in the last year after fees but before tax, which continues this outstanding track record. The return since inception is 12.7% and this includes an era with the GFC in the middle. $10,000 invested in 1998 is worth over $120,000 today.
At Fisher Funds we think investors should expect greater lifetime savings, and the entire company is focussed and organised to deliver on this expectation. An integral part of this is what we call smart active management, which differentiates Fisher Funds from your stock standard active manager. Why does Fisher Funds believe we can consistently outperform the market? Because we have been doing so for 21 years as proven by the New Zealand Growth Fund. This is a record we are particularly proud of and of course this strategy is now replicated over multiple other funds and KiwiSaver.
So after 21 years Fisher Funds is qualified to suggest that without carefully chosen comparisons or time periods, this is not a passive versus active management argument at all. It comes down to the quality of the funds management firm that investors choose to invest with. Smart active management honed over 21 years to deliver great investor outcomes remains the long-term winning strategy.