"What it does show is that in times of volatility active can outperform and probably should. In strongly rising markets it's tough for active to perform better, but in sideways, falling or volatile markets that's their opportunity."
Mr Sparke agreed, saying there was a case for both styles in a diversified portfolio, but warned that passives were likely to perform better in the near future as “the rising tide lifts all ships”.
But Mr McDermott expected good active managers to continue to perform over the long-term. He said: “There is no better example of that than very recently, when Tesla was added to the S&P 500.
“Do you want to own a large part of that in a passive today, or would you rather your manager had invested a year ago? Passives have their uses, but cheapest is not always best."
What do you think about the issues raised by this story? Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know