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Get a 360° View on the Active vs. Passive Debate Why does the active vs. passive debate matter on a global scale?


S&P Indices versus Active (SPIVA) scorecards are semiannual scorecards published by S&P Dow Jones Indices that compare the performance of active equity and fixed income mutual funds against their benchmarks over a number of time horizons. The inaugural scorecard was published in 2002 and focused on the U.S., but the scorecard has since been extended to Australia, Canada, Europe, India, Japan, Latin America, and South Africa.


SPIVA scorecards are unique because they rely on datasets that address issues related to measurement techniques, universe composition, and fund survivorship. While these issues are far less frequently discussed, they can have meaningful impacts on results. In particular, the datasets correct for the following biases.

• Survivorship Bias Correction: Many funds may merge or be liquidated during a given period. For someone making an investment decision at the beginning of the period, these funds are part of the opportunity set. Unlike other comparison reports, SPIVA scorecards account for the entire opportunity set—not just the survivors—thereby eliminating survivorship bias.

• Apples-to-Apples Comparison: Fund returns are often compared with popular benchmarks such as the S&P 500® , regardless of size or style classifications. SPIVA scorecards avoid this pitfall by comparing funds against benchmarks that are appropriate for that particular investment category. For example, U.S. mid-cap value funds are compared with the S&P MidCap 400® Value, while the S&P SmallCap 600® Growth serves as the benchmark for U.S. small-cap growth funds.

• Asset-Weighted Returns: Average returns for a fund group are often calculated based on equally weighting the entire fund universe. However, a more accurate representation of how market participants fared in a particular period can be ascertained by weighting each fund according to its net assets. SPIVA scorecards show both equal- and asset-weighted averages. "

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