Asness of AQR Says Passive Growth Is Good for Industry

Cliff Asness, co-founder of AQR Capital Management, thinks the flow of money into passive investing has been a positive for the industry, according to a recent Bloomberg article.

Per the article, Asness believes that active managers “have historically overcharged for scant returns and the shift toward questioning whether high fees are deserved is a healthy change.” The managing principal of Greenwich, Connecticut-based AQR (which oversees $208 billion in assets) argues that there are too many active investors as it is.

Bloomberg data shows that, through September of this year, investors channeled $510 billion into index funds, compared with $104 billion for active. “Much of the passive money,” the article says, “was in search of lower fees: more than 75 percent of exchange-traded product flows came from the lowest quartile of funds in terms of costs.”

AQR has enjoyed the dramatic increase in quant investing strategies that target assets according to factors such as profitability and momentum, and Asness says that the prime draw is the returns available to investors at reasonable fees. He is quoted as saying: “History is on the side of passive, and that will continue.”