The majority of active fund categories in Europe underperformed their corresponding benchmarks over the past 10 years and only nine out of 23 active fund categories generated above-average asset-weighted returns, according to the latest S&P Indices Versus Active Funds, or SPIVA, Europe Scorecard.
U.S. and emerging market equity funds domiciled in Europe continued to be the region's worst-performing categories, S&P said.
More than half of active pan-European equity funds denominated in euros outperformed the benchmark over a one-year period, but only 15% of funds were able to beat the S&P Europe 350 over the 10-year period. About 26% of actively managed funds investing only in eurozone equities outperformed the S&P Eurozone BMI in 2017 and that percentage dropped to 12% over the 10-year period.
The majority of funds in Italy, Switzerland, Germany, the U.K. and Sweden outperformed their benchmarks over a one-year period. However, a majority of funds did not outperform in a single category over the 10-year period.
The performance of U.K. small-cap equity funds was markedly better than their large- and mid-cap counterparts in 2017. But less than one-quarter of the funds in both categories outperformed their benchmarks.
The SPIVA Europe Scorecard measures the performance of actively managed European equity funds against the performance of their respective S&P DJI benchmark indexes.
European equity markets achieved above-average gains in 2017 and international markets experienced strong bull rallies, supported by continued global expansion throughout the year, S&P said.
The S&P Europe 350 was 10.75% higher at the end of the year as market volatility remained low, suggesting investors were confident about Europe's economy. The S&P Global 1200 ended the year 8.57% higher and the S&P 500 finished the year up 7.01% in euro terms. The broad emerging equity benchmark posted a one-year return of 21.12% in euro terms, as measured by the S&P/IFCI.
But European investors holding global and U.S. equities experienced lower returns due to weakening of the U.S. dollar, S&P said.
S&P Dow Jones Indices and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.