Passive Management vs Active Management

When it comes to investing strategies and managing their portfolios, investors have two main options. They can either use an active or passive management strategy. Both of these strategies have their advantages and disadvantages. However, investors must choose their own tactics that suit them.

To know which option is the best for them, investors need to understand what they are and how they can use it to their benefit.

What is Active Management?

Active management refers to the trading strategy in which investors actively manage their portfolios. Investors using this management strategy buy and sell stocks in order to outperform a specific index, such as the S&P 500 or the market as a whole. Usually, a portfolio manager takes care of the actively managed stocks under this strategy.

Whether investors succeed or fail in this strategy depends on how much research they have performed and the techniques they use. Investors can combine various models and methods to identify stocks that they believe will help them outperform the market. With this management strategy, investors need to identify any opportunities and exploit them readily.

Usually, investors using this investing strategy follow market trends, changes in the political landscape, shifts in economics, legal factors, one-off events, etc. These are the factors that can affect the performance of a specific stock in the market. Based on this research and the data collected in this step, investors can select stocks that they believe are undervalued and may result in profits.

As mentioned, the goal of this strategy is to identify investments that can outperform the market. Therefore, investors will look for the highest possible returns. However, that also means that they will have to bear higher risks compared to other strategies.

What is Passive Management?

Passive management is the opposite strategy for active management, sometimes also referred to as index fund management. In this strategy, investors don’t actively manage their portfolio but rather take a passive approach. The goal of this strategy isn’t to beat the market but to imitate a particular market index’s returns.

Therefore, the purpose of stocks included in a passive portfolio is to generate returns similar to a chosen index. Usually, passive management doesn’t require active portfolio managers. Investors using the passive management strategy often prefer investing in mutual funds, index funds, or exchange-traded funds, all of which achieve the goal.

A passive mode of investment is much more inexpensive in comparison, as it does not require proactive management of portfolios. Therefore, the management fees associated with this strategy are minimal. In comparison, active management costs more. However, passive management comes with a downside of lower returns, although it also comes with lower risks.

Which is better, Active Management or Passive Management?

Both types of portfolio management strategies have their advantages and disadvantages. However, it is for investors to decide which one they want to use. Usually, investors consider various factors before choosing a strategy, among which the most critical are time and costs. However, that does not mean investors can’t use a combination of both for the best results if they want.


There are two portfolio management strategies that investors can use, active or passive. Active management, as the name suggests, requires proactive portfolio management. On the other hand, the passive mode approach is the opposite.

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