S&P Indices Versus Active (SPIVA®) measures the performance of actively managed funds against their relevant S&P index benchmarks. SPIVA scorecard reports have been issued covering fund markets in the United States, Canada, Australia, and India. SPIVA scorecards are issued semi-annually: a mid-year report and an annual report.
The SPIVA reports incorporate the following factors in measuring active fund performance.
- Survivorship bias correction: SPIVA removes funds that were liquidated or merged during a period of study (one year, three year, and five year periods).
- Apples-to-apples comparison: Fund returns are compared to a benchmark for each particular fund's style and size category.
- Asset-weighted returns: SPIVA reports show both equal- and asset-weighted averages. [note 1]
- Style consistency: As active funds often exhibit style drift, each SPIVA report measures style consistency for each style category across different time horizons.
- Data Cleaning: SPIVA avoids double counting of multiple share classes in all count based calculations where only the share class with bigger assets is used. Index funds, leveraged and inverse funds, and other index-linked products are excluded since SPIVA is meant to be a scorecard for active managers. 
Each SPIVA scorecard reports active vs. passive performance data, equal and asset weighted fund returns, as well as survivorship and style drift data. Yearly U.S. reports can also report on specific topics. For example, the following topics are considered in the indicated scorecards.
- 2002 scorecard: 2000 - 2002 bear market;
- 2003 scorecard: sector funds;
- 2006 scorecard: introduced international and fixed income reports; fund expenses;
- 2008 scorecard: bear market retrospective;
- 2009 scorecard : added the CRSP Survivor-Bias-Free U.S. Mutual Fund Database to this and subsequent reports.
US stock market
SPIVA has published reports for the U.S. stock market from 2003 to 2006 and for the period 2008 to 2013. [note 2]
The table below provides summary SPIVA scorecard results over the past 5 year period (2009 - 2013). As table indicates, averaged over the entire span (3-year and 5-year), index funds have outperformed at least 50% of active funds in each of the nine equity style boxes.[note 3]
In the year-by-year results (see footnotes), active funds have managed to outperform index returns in a majority of the nine style boxes in just three years, 2003, 2007, and 2009. The authors of the reports caution against relying on one year results. [note 4]
The table also includes data on mutual fund survivorship over the period. The percentage of active fund closures or mergers into other funds approaches 25% over five year periods. A second set of figures shows the degree of active fund style shifting. The one year, three year and five year averaged figures for each period show the percentage of funds that shift from one style categorization at the beginning of a term to a new style categorization at the end of the term.
In addition to comparative fund performance, SPIVA also provides returns for indexes, equal weighted active funds (the number of funds) and asset weighted active funds (measuring investor holdings). Since SPIVA lacks a report for 2007, the figures below are divided into two periods before and after 2007. Over the time periods measured, active funds have lagged index returns in almost all style categories. The exceptions include asset weighted large growth funds outperforming the index in the 2002 - 2006 period, and large value active fund outperformance over the 2008 - 2012 period. The SPIVA reports also show index dominance over active funds during bear markets in 2000 - 2002 and 2008 . Only large value active funds were able to outperform the benchmark index during these down markets. [note 5]
Standard and Poors also issues Persistence scorecards for active U.S. equity funds. These reports examine:
- The percentage of top quartile funds (measured over past year performance) remaining in the top quartile over the ensuing five years . Random chance means 6.75% of funds should remain in the top half of returns, and 0.39% for top quartile returns.
- The percentage of top quartile funds (measured over the past five year performance) remaining in the top quartile over the ensuing five years. Random chance means 25% of funds should remain in the top quartile.
- The percentage of funds in the top half quartile remaining in the top quartile over the ensuing five years.
The results indicate that active fund performance persistence is nearly indistinguishable from random chance. However, active funds in the lowest performance quartiles have shown a higher tendency to be closed or merged over ensuing five year periods. 
S&P has provided yearly SPIVA reports on U.S. international stock funds from 2008 through 2013. The scorecards consider global stock funds, international stock funds, international small cap stock funds, and emerging market stock funds.
The scorecard results over this period indicate that:
- Although one year results lack consistency, the longer term five year performance results show that more than 50% of active funds in the global, international, and emerging markets lagged benchmark returns. Active management succeeded in international small caps, as more than 50% of active funds exceeded the benchmark.
- Considering five year compound average returns, larger funds, as measured by asset weighted returns, provided better returns than smaller funds.
- Benchmark index returns exceeded the average returns of equal weighted active funds in all categories with the exception of international small caps. The average asset weighted active fund exceeded benchmark index returns in international small cap stocks.
The year by year tallies of one year, three year and five year fund performance rankings are included in the individual asset class tabs in the following table.
S&P has provided yearly SPIVA reports on U.S. bond funds from 2008 through 2013. The scorecards report on a wide spectrum of the U.S. bond market. Discrete segments of the bond market which are addressed include government bonds (long, intermediate, and short term); investment grade bonds (long, intermediate, and short term); high yield bonds; mortgage-backed bonds; municipal bonds; global bonds; and emerging market bonds.
In terms of five year numerical ranking, active funds have lagged benchmark returns in three of eleven bond sectors. The one-year and three-year rankings also favor active funds (eight of eleven for both).
Asset weighted returns exceeded equal weighted returns in nine of eleven sectors.
SPIVA has provided scorecard reports for Canadian equity funds beginning in 2004. The Canadian scorecards differ from other national market scorecards in that the rating percentages are based on the percentage of active funds which outperform the benchmark return, as opposed to ratings which report underperforming percentages. Scorecards from 2004 through 2006 included the following Canadian funds:
- Canadian equity
- Canadian capped equity
- Canadian small caps
- US equity (C$)
In 2006 SPIVA changed the small cap benchmark to a small/mid cap benchmark. This benchmark did not have a three or five year history upon its introduction, so there is a gap in reporting longer term performance figures for this asset class from 2006 to 2009.
In 2007 SPIVA added the following asset classes to the scorecards
- Canadian dividend equity
- International equity
- Global equity
Canadian active funds over the entire period have underperformed benchmarks, both in numbers and in compound returns.
SPIVA began issuing scorecards of the Australian investment markets in 2009. The scorecards measure active fund performance in Australian equities (includes large value, large core, and large growth); Australian small cap equities (includes small value, small core, and small growth); international equities (includes world value, world core, and world growth); Australian REITS; and Australian bonds.
Over the short span of measured results more than 50% of Australian funds have lagged benchmarks in every asset class with the exception of Australian small cap stocks, where a sizable majority active funds have outperformed the index. Five year equal weighted returns (reflecting the number of funds) have also lagged benchmark index returns in all classes saving Australian small cap stocks. The performance of asset weighted funds (the largest funds holding investor assets) exceeded benchmark returns in all equity asset classes, lagging benchmark return only in Australian bonds.
S&P and Credit Rating Information Services of India Limited (CRISIL) produce SPIVA scorecards for India's fund market. The reports were initiated in 2009. The Indian scorecards include the following categories:
- Large Cap stocks
- Diversified stocks
- Equity Linked Saving Schemes (ELSS).[note 6]
- Monthly Income Portfolios (MIP)
In five year numerical rankings, active Indian funds have underperformed benchmarks in all categories with the exception of diversified stock (virtually even) and debt.
Five year return figures show that benchmark returns have exceeded active equal weighted returns in five of seven categories. Active equal weighted returns have exceeded benchmark returns in the MIP and debt categories. Active asset weighted returns have exceeded both benchmark and equal weighted returns in six of the seven categories, lagging returns only in gilts.
- In the scorecard glossary section, S&P defines equal weighted and asset weighted averages as follows:
- Equal-Weighted Fund Performance: Equal-weighted returns for a particular style category are determined by calculating a simple average return of all active funds in that category in a particular month.
- Asset-Weighted Fund Performance: Asset-weighted returns for a particular style category are determined by calculating a weighted average return of all funds in that category in a particular month, with each fund's return weighted by its total net assets. Asset- weighted returns are a better indicator of fund category performance because they more accurately reflect the returns of the total money invested in that particular style category.
- The complete table of annual results for the US stock market:
Table. SPIVA: Active funds outperformed by index
(View Google Spreadsheet in browser, then File --> Download as to download the file.)
- Each fund represents one category in the equity style box.
- "While year-end figures are interesting statistics much looked forward to by investors and asset managers alike, they may be too short a time frame to present a consistent picture. The table below (sic) shows the percent of actively managed general equity funds outperformed by benchmark indices for each year over the last six years. Clearly, there is no consistent trend to be observed in terms of active versus index performance over these annual figures.” - 2005 scorecard, reaffirmed in 2008 and 2010 scorecards.
- The comparative numbers for both 2000- 2002 and 2008 bear markets appear in the 2011 SPIVA scorecard (see bear markets tab in the footnote table above).
- ELSS funds provide retail investors with the opportunity of investing in the equity markets with additional tax benefits (no taxation of capital gains and income distributions) as compared to other categories of funds. ELSS funds have a minimum three year holding requirement. ELSS funds are generally managed like diversified funds with investments across equities with different types of market capitalization. A listing of Indian ELSS funds is available at India ELSS link :Performance Tracker
- SPIVA - S&P Dow Jones Indices
- S&P includes these parameters in each of its scorecards. See SPIVA® U.S. Mid-Year 2015, Sep 10 2015. Viewed January 1, 2016.
- Data through 2012 is taken from scorecard reports accessed at SPIVA scorecards, Retrieved 28 March 2013. Link updated January 1, 2016.
- 2013 data is taken from scorecard reports accessed at SPIVA, Retrieved 23 March 2014. Link updated January 1, 2016.
- 2010 S&P Persistence report.
- What is SPIVA®?, video overview, S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC, March 31, 2015.