The Index Fund/ETF Bubble - How Bad Is It Really? | Summary and Q&A

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November 15, 2019
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The Plain Bagel
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The Index Fund/ETF Bubble - How Bad Is It Really?

TL;DR

Hedge fund manager Michael Burry claims that index funds are in a bubble due to obscuring price discovery, but the argument is not new and may be biased against passive investing.

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Questions & Answers

Q: Could index funds and ETFs truly be in a bubble?

While the claim is plausible, it is important to consider biases and skepticism, as active investors have an incentive to prove that passive investing does not work.

Q: Do index funds own half of the US stock market?

No, index funds only hold roughly 15% of the US stock market, debunking the misconception that they own half of it.

Q: Are all ETFs passive?

No, approximately 2% of ETFs do not track an index and are considered active. Therefore, not all ETFs are passive.

Q: How are index funds different from collateralized debt obligations (CDOs)?

While both hold portfolios, CDOs involved restructuring cash flows and obscured the risk profile of mortgages, whereas index funds do not engage in such practices.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Michael Burry argues that index funds are in a bubble because they are causing price distortion and not reflecting intrinsic value.

  • However, this claim is not new and has been discussed within the investment community.

  • The argument against index funds may be biased as it benefits active investors.

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