Active fund managers have lost their competitive edge in a world of globalised investing dominated by skilled professionals with access to good research, says Charles Ellis, a leading investment consultant and author. But a top local manager says there is still room for active managers with sharp pencils and who are bold enough to be different. Ellis, the founder of Greenwich Associates, a leading US-based investment consultant and author of Winning the Loser's Game, says that in the 1960s only 10% of trading on the New York Stock Exchange was done by a few thousand investment professionals with access to in-depth research.

The rest was done by uninformed independents trading occasionally without much insight into the shares they bought or sold. Today, more than 99% of the trading is done by more than a million smart, skilled professionals - "all equally informed, equally armed, equally equipped", Ellis told Cape Town and Johannesburg audiences at an event hosted by local inde...

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