Active v/s Passive Investing - Which is Better?

Although the debate over the relative merits and demerits of active and passive investment management began decades ago, it remains one of the most contentious issues in the world of investing.


Simply put, active investors seek to outperform the returns of a specific index, whereas passive investors accept market returns by tracking a specific index. For example, if you believe that market prices have taken into account all of the information that could affect the price of an investment, you should probably be a passive index investor.


  • Meaning of Active Investing:

Active investing entails actively managing funds with the primary aim of optimizing returns. Active traders use a variety of techniques to determine when to enter and exit the market. To determine when to buy or sell assets, the strategy necessitates advanced market knowledge and analysis. To outperform the average market return, a hands-on approach is required. An equity mutual fund is an example of active investing because the fund manager decides which securities will enter and exit the fund.


Most active-fund portfolio managers are aided by teams of human analysts who conduct extensive research to aid in the identification of enticing investment opportunities. When things go well, actively managed funds can outperform the market over time, even after fees are paid. However, investors should keep in mind that there is no guarantee that an active fund will outperform the index, and many do not. According to research, relatively few active funds outperform the market, owing in part to their higher fees.


  • Meaning of Passive Investing:

Passive investing, as opposed to active investing, involves a long-term approach to holding investments. While passive investing can be used in any financial instrument, an index is the most commonly used passive investing method. To avoid constant asset analysis, passive investors typically purchase an index fund. Instead of outperforming the index, the investment strategy seeks to generate consistent index returns.


An exchange-traded fund is an example of a passively managed fund. An ETF tracks the movement of an index set by the NSE or BSE, with the investor having no control over what goes in and out. Investing in an index or benchmark allows investors to hold their investment for a long period without being tempted to anticipate or react to market movements. Passive investing is a low-cost strategy because it involves little buying and selling of securities. The strategy necessitates a buy-and-hold mindset. That means resisting the urge to react to or anticipate every move in the stock market.


Passive funds, as the name implies, do not have human managers making buying and selling decisions. Passive funds typically have very low fees because there are no managers to pay. Fees for both active and passive funds have decreased over time, but active funds continue to be more expensive. Passive funds buy and sell stocks mechanically. Rather than paying a high-priced professional, investors in passive funds pay for a computer and software to move money. As a result, lower costs contribute to higher returns for passive investors.


  • Difference between Active & Passive Investing:


Basis of Difference

Active Investing

Passive Investing

Investment Strategy

Actively buy and sell securities as per the market scenario

Buy and hold securities for a longer time-frame

Constant Monitoring

Requires constant monitoring with a hands-on approach

Does not require constant monitoring

Expense Ratio

Higher compared to Passive Investment Funds.

Lower compared to Active Investment Funds.

Risk Factor

Active investing involves high risk

Passive investing comparatively involves low risk


It is more flexible

It is less flexible



  • The Conclusion: Active v/s Passive Investing - Which is Better?


It is difficult to determine which of these categories is ʹgoodʹ or ʹbad,ʹ because the distinction between active and passive investment strategies is more about differences in characteristics than which category is either beneficial or detrimental. Everything is largely decided by the investorʹs profile.


During a bull market, investors with both active and passive holdings can use active portfolios to hedge against downswings in a passively managed portfolio. A combination strategy can also provide an investor with the peace of mind that their passive, long-term strategy is on autopilot, while an active, short-term strategy allows them to explore trends without compromising their long-term goals.


The decision between the two strategies is based on how much time you want to invest in the market, how much risk you are willing to take, and your level of market expertise. Active investing is preferable if you enjoy spending time in the market and are willing to take more risks in exchange for higher returns. If your priority is consistent returns over time and you do not want to spend much time in the market, you can choose passive investing. However, both strategies can be used at the same time. To benefit from both approaches, you can buy and hold a certain percentage of index funds and a few actively traded stocks in your portfolio.


Several investment advisors believe that a mix of active and passive strategies is the best way to reduce the massive swings in stock prices during volatile periods. The choice between passive and active management does not always have to be an either/or. Combining the two can help to diversify a portfolio and manage overall risk.


Disclaimer: The information in this blog/article is provided from the point of view of the study. In the case of direct trading or investing, it is necessary to recognize the risk and consult a personal investment advisor.


Happy Trading, Happy Investing!!!


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