A few weeks ago, my colleague David Ricci wrote about the short-term focus of the market right now, explaining why we, as large-cap growth managers, prefer a different approach. But one thing he didn’t touch on was the fact that the problem is compounded for passive investors.

As David explained, many managers tend to react to short-term events such as Brexit. Many are chasing dividend yield in a flight to safety. As a result, certain stocks, such as consumer staples, have become momentum stocks even though their growth prospects aren’t very appealing.

Money pouring into index funds creates inefficiencies in the market.

That may work for now, but ultimately there will be a reversal. And consider the result for passive investors. If you’re buying an index, and consumer staples are a significant part of that investment, you’re buying a lot of consumer staples at all-time highs.

That was the case with technology back in 1999, when technology was half of the Russell 1000 Growth Index. Buying that index wasn’t a smart move, as we learned over a two- or three-year period when the technology bubble burst.

We’re happy with the strength of our own active strategy relative to passive strategies, but as more investors go passive, even more opportunities should arise for active managers. Money pouring into index funds creates inefficiencies in the market. That’s because this money is blindly buying an index.

There is no research being done by passive investors to understand the investment. They are simply treating every stock, every company, as a commodity.

We believe this approach is misguided because companies are not commodities; every company is different. Our approach, in contrast, focuses on structurally advantaged, quality growth companies that we believe are substantially better than the average company.

We do a lot of work to understand our investments and the mispricing of the stock in the market. By taking a long-term view, we believe we can generate better-than-index returns for our investors with this approach.

Certainly, it’s been a tough environment for active managers over the past five years. However, we believe this will revert, creating even more opportunities for active managers.

We’re already seeing this a bit on the institutional side, where money that’s been passive is now interested in active because some institutional investors realize that the flight to passive just can’t continue at its current pace.

When the pendulum swings too far in one direction, eventually it will correct itself. As the environment for active managers improves, those who have a defined philosophy and process stand to benefit. That’s where the William Blair Large Cap Growth strategy operates.

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Please carefully consider the Funds’ investment objective, risks, charges, and expenses before investing. This and other information is contained in the Funds’ prospectus, which you may obtain by calling +1 800 742 7272. Read it carefully before you invest or send money. Investing includes the risk of loss.

Any statements or opinions expressed are those of the author as of the date of publication, are subject to change without notice as economic and markets conditions dictate, and may not reflect the opinions of other investment teams within William Blair Investment Management, LLC or the Investment Management Division of William Blair & Company, L.L.C.

This content is for informational and educational purposes only and not intended as investment advice or a recommendation to buy or sell any security. Investment advice and recommendations can be provided only after careful consideration of an investor’s objectives, guidelines, and restrictions.

Factual information has been taken from sources we believe to be reliable, but its accuracy, completeness or interpretation cannot be guaranteed. Investments are subject to market risk. Forecasts, estimates, and certain information contained herein are based upon proprietary research and should not be interpreted as investment advice, as an offer or solicitation, nor as the purchase or sale of any financial instrument. Statements concerning financial market trends are based on current market conditions, which will fluctuate.

William Blair does not provide legal or tax advice. Please consult your tax and/or legal counsel for specific tax questions and concerns.

Distributed by William Blair & Company, L.L.C., member FINRA/SIPC.

Copyright © 2017 William Blair & Company, L.L.C. "William Blair” is a registered trademark of William Blair & Company, L.L.C. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form, or referred to in any other publication, without express written consent.

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Please carefully consider the Funds’ investment objective, risks, charges, and expenses before investing. This and other information is contained in the Funds’ prospectus, which you may obtain by calling +1 800 742 7272. Read it carefully before you invest or send money. Investing includes the risk of loss.

Any statements or opinions expressed are those of the author as of the date of publication, are subject to change without notice as economic and markets conditions dictate, and may not reflect the opinions of other investment teams within William Blair Investment Management, LLC or the Investment Management Division of William Blair & Company, L.L.C.

This content is for informational and educational purposes only and not intended as investment advice or a recommendation to buy or sell any security. Investment advice and recommendations can be provided only after careful consideration of an investor’s objectives, guidelines, and restrictions.

Factual information has been taken from sources we believe to be reliable, but its accuracy, completeness or interpretation cannot be guaranteed. Investments are subject to market risk. Forecasts, estimates, and certain information contained herein are based upon proprietary research and should not be interpreted as investment advice, as an offer or solicitation, nor as the purchase or sale of any financial instrument. Statements concerning financial market trends are based on current market conditions, which will fluctuate.

William Blair does not provide legal or tax advice. Please consult your tax and/or legal counsel for specific tax questions and concerns.

Distributed by William Blair & Company, L.L.C., member FINRA/SIPC.

Copyright © 2017 William Blair & Company, L.L.C. "William Blair” is a registered trademark of William Blair & Company, L.L.C. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form, or referred to in any other publication, without express written consent.

Statement of Financial Condition | NMS Rule 605 & 606 | Business Continuity Plan | UK Stewardship Code
Cookie Policy | Social Media Disclaimer | Privacy & Security | FINRA’s BrokerCheck

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