A fundamental change is underway in stock market investing, and the spin-off effects are poised to dramatically impact corporate America.
In the past, individuals and large institutions mostly invested in actively managed mutual funds, such as Fidelity, in which fund managers pick stocks with the aim of beating the market. But since the financial crisis of 2008, investors have shifted to index funds, which replicate established stock indices, such as the S&P 500.
The magnitude of the change is astounding: from 2007 to 2016, actively managed funds have recorded outflows of roughly US$1,200 billion, while index funds had inflows of over US$1,400 billion.
In the first quarter of 2017, index funds brought in more than US$200 billion – the highest quarterly value on record.