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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Don Phillips Bemoans the Active-Passive Civil War

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

"What we've had here in essence is a civil war between active and passive for a bigger slice of the pice. No one's growing the pie."

Don Phillips
Morningstar, Inc.
Former Chief Executive Officer
*Photo by Jim Tweedie - Wyckoff-Tweedie Photography*
So argues Morningstar veteran Don Phillips, speaking yesterday afternoon on a general session panel at the 2016 Morningstar Investment Conference at McCormick Place in Chicago. Phillips spoke on a panel, "Practical Advice for an Evolving World", with Christine Benz of M*, Bill Bernstein of Efficient Frontier, and Blair duQuesnay of ThirtyNorth Investments.

Phillips urged advisors, fundsters, and other industry insiders to focus more on costs, not on active versus passive.

"The case for indexing has been overstated. I don't think that the case for low-cost can be overstated," Phillips says. "When you sanctify indexing, you allow a whole lot of bad behavior under the index umbrella."

Phillips said that he worries about "vilifying sections of the investment industry" being "ammunition" for people who want to encourage the general public to spend, not save.

"So many people have this negative view of investing," Phillips says.

"This civil war ... It's missed the point," Phillips adds. "We ought to be encouraging more people to invest and fight less about the way."

The panel also addressed a host of other currents, retirement income, strategic beta, and of course the DoL's fiduciary regulation. 

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