(Bloomberg) -- In the hyper-competitive world of money management, no firm put more points on the board last year than Vanguard.
The low-cost fund giant had the most inflows of any mutual fund firm ever, with $216 billion in new money, in part because as of last week, "about 74% of active stock funds in the U.S. were underperforming their category benchmarks." The name Vanguard is a good substitute for passive investing in "the worst year of client withdrawals in the history of fund management," seeing $105 billion walk out the door before, during and after the time former Pimco fund manager Bill Gross was walking out the door and heading to Janus.
Pimco also underperformed its peers, though not by that much -- it "returned 4.7% in 2014, trailing 53% of comparable funds" -- considering that it had to sell half its assets to meet redemptions.
In equity offerings, last year was also very good, with $249 billion in global deals; the number is lower if you don't count Alibaba. The number would be higher if companies like Uber, Airbnb, Dropbox and Xiaomi hadn't raised billions of dollars at 11-digit valuations in private offerings: One research firm has "top technology start-ups" raising $12.9 billion in 2014, versus $5 billion in 2013. The public offering doesn't have quite the attraction that it used to have. "General rule of thumb: Any private company valued >$1B would already be public in any prior equivalent era," says venture capitalist Marc Andreessen. On the other hand, Shake Shack filed for an initial public offering last week.
- ETF Surge: Top Performers of 2014
- Pimco Total Return Suffers Worst Year Ever for Redemptions
- Active vs. Passive: When Both Perform Well