Why Index Funds Aren't Going to Break the Market | Common Sense Investing with Ben Felix | Summary and Q&A

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November 3, 2017
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Ben Felix
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Why Index Funds Aren't Going to Break the Market | Common Sense Investing with Ben Felix

TL;DR

Index funds have become increasingly popular due to the failure of actively managed funds, but their growth is unlikely to break the market.

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Key Insights

  • 😮 Actively managed funds have historically dominated the investment market, but their underperformance has contributed to the rise of index funds.
  • 💓 Markets are efficient, making it difficult for active managers to consistently beat the market.
  • 🫰 The growth of index funds is unlikely to break the market as long as there is sufficient competition among active managers.
  • 🫰 The effects of index investing on market efficiency depend on who turns to passive investing and the costs of uncovering relevant information.

Transcript

The idea of index funds was conceived in the 1970s, and received immediate support from some of the smartest academics and economists in the world at the time. Industry practitioners on the other hand, laughed at the idea. Index funds were even called un-American. Who wants to be average? The first index fund that could be accessed by retail invest... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: Why were index funds initially ridiculed and considered un-American?

Index funds were initially seen as unappealing because they represented average market returns, and investors preferred the opportunity for higher returns offered by actively managed funds.

Q: Why have index funds gained popularity in recent years?

The failure of actively managed funds to outperform their benchmark indices has led investors to reconsider their investment strategies. Index funds offer lower fees and comparable returns, making them an attractive option.

Q: What is market efficiency and how does it affect active managers?

Market efficiency means that security prices reflect all available information, making it difficult for active managers to gain an information edge and consistently beat the market. This is because any relevant information they possess is already priced into stocks.

Q: How does the Grossman-Stiglitz paradox relate to index investing?

The Grossman-Stiglitz paradox suggests that if too many investors index, it may attract active managers who can profit from market inefficiencies. This influx of active managers would then push the market back towards efficiency.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Index funds were initially laughed at and considered un-American, but have gained popularity in recent years.

  • Actively managed funds have historically dominated the investment market, but their underperformance has contributed to the rise of index funds.

  • Markets are efficient, making it difficult for active managers to consistently beat the market, leading to the popularity of index investing.

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