When you buy an actively managed investment product you expect your returns to beat an agreed benchmark — because if you didn’t want that edge, and were not prepared to pay extra to get it, you’d have bought a passive product that simply tracks that benchmark for good or ill.

You would select your active investment manager according to certain criteria, one of which would be historical performance. This is not ideal, but it would give you some idea how the product matched up to both the benchmark and the products of rival asset managers.

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