Passively managed funds may not offer the best returns in a difficult equity market As far as investment nuggets go, this one’s an oldie and has almost always been a goodie: you can’t go wrong with an index tracker fund. This has long been the cry from the passive fund management fraternity — and, granted, they’ve been right for years (and have had a field day at the expense of active value managers).However, just under three years ago things started to change, and the tide began turning against passive managers riding an index driven by a handful of overpriced, heavyweight shares.After a rapid rise from the bear-market low in February 2009, the bull market had essentially run its course by mid-2014. Amid much volatility, it has since got nowhere, as shown in the JSE top 40 index’s 5% fall since June 2014 and 10% fall over the past 12 months.Things could have been a whole lot worse over the past 12 months, though.Big advances by resource shares Anglo American, AngloGold, Gold Fields...

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