Where Are American Counterparts to the H-1B Visa Program Applicants?

A program, which has been bringing tens of thousands of skilled young Asians to the U.S. to fill technical jobs left empty by Americans opened today. It has been criticized earlier by the President for taking jobs from Americans. Some changes have been made. It remains to be seen how legitimate are the claims of those who defend it.

Two articles from The New York Times below attempt to cover this event:

By JIM KERSTETTER, April 4, 2017 for The New York Times

While campaigning for president last year, Donald J. Trump promised changes to the H-1B visa program that brings skilled foreign workers to the United States. A critique of the program is that it can be used to replace American workers with cheaper foreign labor. Critics say that Indian outsourcing firms, in particular, use it as a shortcut to make low bids on contracts. . . .

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services announced on Friday that entry-level computer programming jobs would no longer automatically qualify as a “special occupation,” which is the basic requirement for receiving an H-1B work visa. And on Monday, the Justice Department warned that it would look closely at any employer that showed a preference for hiring H-1B workers instead of Americans.

Visa Applications Pour In by Truckload

 By MIRIAM JORDAN, April 3, 2017 for The New YorkTimes

Hailed by proponents as vital to American innovation, the program has also been criticized as a scheme to displace United States workers with cheaper foreign labor. President Trump has vowed to overhaul it, and lawmakers from both parties have drafted bills to alter it.

At campaign rallies, Mr. Trump introduced laid-off Americans who had been asked to train their foreign successors at companies that included Disney.

This past weekend, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services announced a technical change that could make it harder for entry-level programmers to receive the visas, and on Monday, the Justice Department warned that it would investigate companies that it believed had overlooked qualified American workers.

   

The average H-1B petition, a collection of forms and documents attesting to the bona fides of a job offer and the person chosen to fill it, is about two inches thick. But some files are six inches thick and weigh several pounds,

The companies, which subcontract their employees to banks, retailers and other businesses in the United States to do programming, accounting and other work, often inundate the immigration service with tens of thousands of applications.

04VISAS2-master768Shipments of H-1B visa petitions arrived Monday at a government processing center in Laguna Niguel, Calif. The visas are commonly used to bring technology workers to the United States. Credit Eros Hoagland for The New York Times

BitTitan, a growing company that hopes to hire 60 engineers in the next 12 months, is submitting six applications. “We are trying to fill specific positions around cloud and artificial intelligence,” the chief executive, Geeman Yip, said. “If we can’t fill them, our innovation suffers.”

Several bipartisan bills in the Senate and the House seek to make companies give more priority to American workers before they fill jobs with H-1B visas. They also seek to raise the minimum pay for the jobs, which depend on skill level and location: A computer systems analyst in Pittsburgh, for example, must make at least $49,000 under current regulations. The theory is that higher pay will eliminate some of the rationale for importing workers.

A draft of a presidential executive order on “protecting American jobs and workers by strengthening the integrity of foreign worker visa programs” was distributed widely in late January but never signed. Then, without warning, Citizenship and Immigration Services published a memo on its website over the weekend that could affect many applications.

Specifically, companies seeking to import computer programmers at the lowest pay levels will have to prove that the work they perform qualifies as “specialty” labor, which is what the H-1B visas were created for. . . .

The measure appears to be directed mainly at outsourcing firms, rather than the big technology companies, which tend to hire workers at higher skill and pay levels.

In a statement, the National Association of Software and Services Companies, the main trade group for India’s outsourcing industry, said, “The H-1B visa system exists specifically because the U.S. has a persistent shortage of high-skilled I.T. talent.”

The Wall Street Journal covered the event in an article below:

U.S. Puts a Curb On Visa Program

 By LAURA MECKLER, April 3, 2017 for The Wall Street Journal

WASHINGTON—The federal government on Monday began accepting visa applications for a fresh round of high-skilled foreign workers, without the wholesale changes President Donald Trump promised in his campaign. His administration did, though, announce one shift that could put pressure on outsourcing companies that typically win a large share of the coveted visas.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service said it would direct more inspectors in the H-1B program to the controversial outsourcing companies, many of them based in India. Those firms have drawn scrutiny because their U.S. subsidiaries sometimes import employees to do work once performed by Americans.

outsourcing--621x414-1

The companies say they are adhering to the program’s rules and only hire foreigners because they can’t find Americans for the jobs, but they are under substantial political scrutiny.

Last year, the government received more than 236,000 applications for the 85,000 visas, of which 20,000 are reserved for people with advanced degrees. . . .

During his presidential campaign, Mr. Trump promised to reduce legal as well as illegal immigration, saying foreign workers drive down wages and threaten American jobs. . . .

“These are temporary foreign workers, imported from abroad, for the explicit purpose of substituting for American workers at lower pay,” he said in a statement last March. “I remain totally committed to eliminating rampant, widespread H-1B abuse.”

. . . One bipartisan bill pending in the House, for instance, would punish companies seeking H-1B visas by imposing burdensome requirements if they don’t pay workers at least $100,000 a year. The current threshold to avoid those requirements is $60,000. . . .

Under the new rules, companies will be prioritized when they have a high ratio of H-1B workers employed and when the employees work off-site at another company’s location. Both of those criteria would lead to targeting of outsourcing companies. . . .

Also Monday, the Justice Department issued a statement cautioning employers participating in the program against discriminating against American workers. “U.S. workers should not be placed in a disfavored status, and the department is wholeheartedly committed to investigating and vigorously prosecuting these claims,” acting Assistant Attorney General Tom Wheeler of the Civil Rights Division said in a statement.

 

Inside Uber’s Aggressive, Unrestrained Workplace Culture

These two articles from The New York Times serve to illustrate how a sophomoric male culture propels some of the biggest companies in the tech industry first to unbelievable success, then possibly to their own destruction.

By MIKE ISAAC, February 22, 2017,  for The New York Times

SAN FRANCISCO — When new employees join Uber, they are asked to subscribe to 14 core company values, including making bold bets, being “obsessed” with the customer, and “always be hustlin’.” The ride-hailing service particularly emphasizes “meritocracy,” the idea that the best and brightest will rise to the top based on their efforts, even if it means stepping on toes to get there.

Those values have helped propel Uber to one of Silicon Valley’s biggest success stories. The company is valued at close to $70 billion by private investors and now operates in more than 70 countries.

Yet the focus on pushing for the best result has also fueled what current and former Uber employees describe as a Hobbesian environment at the company, in which workers are sometimes pitted against one another and where a blind eye is turned to infractions from top performers.

Interviews with more than 30 current and former Uber employees, as well as reviews of internal emails, chat logs and tape-recorded meetings, paint a picture of an often unrestrained workplace culture. Among the most egregious accusations from employees, who either witnessed or were subject to incidents and who asked to remain anonymous because of confidentiality agreements and fear of retaliation: One Uber manager groped female co-workers’ breasts at a company retreat in Las Vegas. A director shouted a homophobic slur at a subordinate during a heated confrontation in a meeting. Another manager threatened to beat an underperforming employee’s head in with a baseball bat.

Until this week, this culture was only whispered about in Silicon Valley. Then on Sunday, Susan Fowler, an engineer who left Uber in December, published a blog post about her time at the company. She detailed a history of discrimination and sexual harassment by her managers, which she said was shrugged off by Uber’s human resources department. Ms. Fowler said the culture was stoked — and even fostered — by those at the top of the company. . . .

Travis Kalanick

As chief executive, Mr. Kalanick has long set the tone for Uber. Under him, Uber has taken a pugnacious approach to business, flouting local laws and criticizing competitors in a race to expand as quickly as possible. Mr. Kalanick, 40, has made pointed displays of ego: In a GQ article in 2014, he referred to Uber as “Boob-er” because of how the company helped him attract women. . . .

The Bro Culture in Tech Land

In this article a week later in The New York Times, the writer explores how the bro culture, so familiar in the world of venture capital, has also permeated many businesses in Silicon Valley, creating a toxic work environment, particularly for women.

Scene from “The Wolf of Wall Street” 

By DAN LYONS, April 1, 2017, for The New YorkTimes

The tech industry has a problem with “bro culture.” People have been complaining about it for years. Yet nobody has done much to fix it. . . .

Look at Uber, the ride-hailing start-up. It’s the biggest tech unicorn in the world, with a valuation of $69 billion. Not long ago Uber seemed invincible. Now it’s in free fall, and top executives have fled. The company’s woes spring entirely from its toxic bro culture, created by its chief executive, Travis Kalanick.

What is bro culture? Basically, a world that favors young men at the expense of everyone else. A “bro co.” has a “bro” C.E.O., or C.E.-Bro, usually a young man who has little work experience but is good-looking, cocky and slightly amoral — a hustler. Instead of being forced by investors to surround himself with seasoned executives, he is left to make decisions on his own.

The bro C.E.O. does what you’d expect an immature young man to do when you give him lots of money and surround him with fawning admirers — he creates a culture built on reckless spending and excessive partying, where bad behavior is not just tolerated but even encouraged. He creates the kind of company in which going to an escort bar with your colleagues, as Mr. Kalanick did in South Korea in 2014, according to recent reports, seems like a good idea. (The visit led, understandably, to a complaint to the personnel department.)

Could Travis Kalanick have served as the model for Leonard di Caprio’s role in “The Wolf of Wall Street?” There is quite a similarity!

Bro cos. become corporate frat houses, where employees are chosen like pledges, based on “culture fit.” Women get hired, but they rarely get promoted and sometimes complain of being harassed. Minorities and older workers are excluded.

Bro culture also values speedy growth over sustainable profits, and encourages cutting corners, ignoring regulations and doing whatever it takes to win.

. . . [T]he board has full confidence in Mr. Kalanick. But should it? He’s a college dropout with a spotty track record and a reputation for pugnacity. His record at Uber includes racking up enormous losses — reportedly $5 billion over the last two years. Despite this, the bluest blue-chip investors (including Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley) have invested a total of $16 billion in Uber.

Bro C.E.O.s are better at raising money than making money. So why do venture capitalists keep investing in them? It may be because many of the venture capitalists are bros as well.

Venture capitalists used to be tech engineers who had made a bundle, retired early and took up investing in start-ups as a kind of white-shoe hobby. The new breed are competitive alpha males who previously might have gone to work as bond traders. At the same time, there are fewer women. In 1999, 10 percent of investing partners at venture capital companies were women. By 2014 the number had declined to 6 percent, according to the Diana Project at Babson College. This is probably one reason that, despite many studies showing that women run companies better than men, none of the 15 biggest tech “unicorns” — start-ups worth more than $1 billion — has a female chief executive.

Leonardo di Caprio in “The Wolf of Wall Street”

Uber’s collapse should not come as a surprise but it does offer a lesson: Toxic workplace culture and rotten financial performance go hand-in-hand. It’s possible for a boorish jerk to run a successful company, but jerks do best when surrounded by non-jerks, and bros do best when they hire seasoned executives to help them. Without “adult supervision” and institutional restraints, the C.E.-Bro’s vices end up infecting the culture of the workplaces they control.

This poisonous state of affairs will get fixed only when investors start getting hurt. A crash at Uber, the most high profile tech start-up in the world, could provide the jolt that finally brings the tech industry back to its senses.

38% of U.S. Jobs at Risk of Automation by 2030

Today we bring you three articles, all written within the last week, on the effect of automation on the American workforce from three different newspapers. The first two from The Los AngelesTimes and The New YorkTimes are in agreement that the effect could be devastating, and soon. The author of The Wall Street Journal article, a former hedge fund manager, argues that it will be beneficial.

By SAMANTHA MASUNGA, March 24, 2017 for The Los Angeles Times

More than a third of U.S. jobs could be at “high risk” of automation by the early 2030s, a percentage that’s greater than in Britain, Germany and Japan, according to a report released Friday.

The analysis, by accounting and consulting firm PwC, emphasized that its estimates are based on the anticipated capabilities of robotics and artificial intelligence, and that the pace and direction of technological progress are “uncertain.”

It said that in the U.S. 38% of jobs could be at risk of automation, compared with 30% in Britain, 35% in Germany and 21% in Japan.

The main reason is not that the U.S. has more jobs in sectors that are universally ripe for automation, the report says; rather, it’s that more U.S. jobs in certain sectors are potentially vulnerable than, say, British jobs in the same sectors.

For example, the report says the financial and insurance sector has much higher possibility of automation in the U.S. than in Britain. That’s because, it says, American finance workers are less educated than British ones.

While London finance employees work in international markets, their U.S. counterparts focus more on the domestic retail market, and workers “do not need to have the same educational levels,” the report said. Jobs that require less education are at higher potential risk of automation, according to the report.

Other industries that could be at high risk include hospitality and food service and transportation and storage.

Analysts have said truck driving probably will be the first form of driving in the U.S. to be fully automated, as long-range big rigs travel primarily on highways — the easiest roads to navigate without human intervention.

But robots won’t necessarily replace so many human workers. The report highlights several economic, legal and regulatory hurdles that could prevent automation, even in jobs where it would be technologically feasible.

For one, the cost of robots — including maintenance and repairs — could still be too expensive compared with human workers. And in the case of self-driving vehicles, questions remain about who is liable in an accident.

In other words, moving robots outside of a controlled environment is “still a big step,” said John Hawksworth, chief economist at PwC in Britain. . . .

Automation could end up creating some jobs, the PwC report said. Greater robotic productivity could boost the incomes of those behind the new technology, which Hawksworth said could flow into the larger economy. (Uh-huh, we’ve heard that before—something about boats and a rising tide?).

Sectors that are harder to automate, such as healthcare, could also see a rise in jobs, he said.

Robots Are Winning the Race for American Jobs

Another article, this one from The New York Times, concludes that Americans are losing jobs today and will, increasingly, in the future. See if you can spot the human worker in this photograph of a fully automated manufacturing plant.

By CLAIRE CAIN MILLER, March 28, 2017 for The New York Times

. . . The industry most affected by automation is manufacturing. For every robot per thousand workers, up to six workers lost their jobs and wages fell by as much as three-fourths of a percent, according to a new paper by the economists, Daron Acemoglu of M.I.T. and Pascual Restrepo of Boston University. It appears to be the first study to quantify large, direct, negative effects of robots.

The paper is all the more significant because the researchers, whose work is highly regarded in their field, had been more sanguine about the effect of technology on jobs. In a paper last year, they said it was likely that increased automation would create new, better jobs, so employment and wages would eventually return to their previous levels. . . .

But that paper was a conceptual exercise. The new one uses real-world data — and suggests a more pessimistic future. The researchers said they were surprised to see very little employment increase in other occupations to offset the job losses in manufacturing. That increase could still happen, they said, but for now there are large numbers of people out of work, with no clear path forward — especially blue-collar men without college degrees.

“The conclusion is that even if overall employment and wages recover, there will be losers in the process, and it’s going to take a very long time for these communities to recover,” Mr. Acemoglu said.

“If you’ve worked in Detroit for 10 years, you don’t have the skills to go into health care,” he said. “The market economy is not going to create the jobs by itself for these workers who are bearing the brunt of the change.” . . .

The paper also helps explain a mystery that has been puzzling economists: why, if machines are replacing human workers, productivity hasn’t been increasing. In manufacturing, productivity has been increasing more than elsewhere — and now we see evidence of it in the employment data, too.

The study analyzed the effect of industrial robots in local labor markets in the United States. Robots are to blame for up to 670,000 lost manufacturing jobs between 1990 and 2007, it concluded, and that number will rise because industrial robots are expected to quadruple.

The paper adds to the evidence that automation, more than other factors like trade and offshoring that President Trump campaigned on, has been the bigger long-term threat to blue-collar jobs. The researchers said the findings — “large and robust negative effects of robots on employment and wages” — remained strong even after controlling for imports, offshoring, software that displaces jobs, worker demographics and the type of industry.

Beats Rosie the Riveter, eh? Her modern-day counterpart

Robots affected both men’s and women’s jobs, the researchers found, but the effect on male employment was up to twice as big. The data doesn’t explain why, but Mr. Acemoglu had a guess: Women are more willing than men to take a pay cut to work in a lower-status field. . . .

Take Detroit, home to automakers, the biggest users of industrial robots. Employment was greatly affected. If automakers can charge less for cars because they employ fewer people, employment might increase elsewhere in the country, like at steel makers or taxi operators. Meanwhile, the people in Detroit will probably spend less at stores. Including these factors, each robot per thousand workers decreased employment by three workers and wages by 0.25 percent.

The findings fuel the debate about whether technology will help people do their jobs more efficiently and create new ones, as it has in the past, or eventually displace humans.

David Autor, a collaborator of Mr. Acemoglu’s at M.I.T., has argued that machines will complement instead of replace humans, and cannot replicate human traits like common sense and empathy. “I don’t think that this paper is the last word on its subject, but it’s an exceedingly carefully constructed and thought-provoking first word,” he said.

Mr. Restrepo said the problem might be that the new jobs created by technology are not in the places that are losing jobs, like the Rust Belt. “I still believe there will be jobs in the years to come, though probably not as many as we have today,” he said. “But the data have made me worried about the communities directly exposed to robots.”

In addition to cars, industrial robots are used most in the manufacturing of electronics, metal products, plastics and chemicals. They do not require humans to operate, and do various tasks like welding, painting and packaging. From 1993 to 2007, the United States added one new industrial robot for every thousand workers — mostly in the Midwest, South and East — and Western Europe added 1.6. . . .

The next question is whether the coming wave of technologies — like machine learning, drones and driverless cars — will have similar effects, but on many more people.

Bill Gates vs. the Robots

Here is the diametrically opposite point of view voiced by a former hedge fund manager in The Wall Street Journal. Take your choice.

Bill Gates at Peking University in Beijing, China, on March 24. PHOTO: REUTERS

By ANDY KESSLER, March 26, 2017 for The Wall Street Journal

Bill Gates, meet Ned Ludd. Ned, meet Bill.

Ludd was the 18th-century folk hero of anti-industrialists. As the possibly apocryphal story goes, in the 1770s he busted up a few stocking frames—knitting machines used to make socks and other clothing—to protest the labor-saving devices. Taking up his cause a few decades later, a band of self-described “Luddites” rebelled by smashing some of the machines that powered the Industrial Revolution.

Apparently this is the sort of behavior that would make Mr. Gates proud. Last month in an interview with the website Quartz, the Microsoft founder and richest man alive said it would be OK to tax job-killing robots. If a $50,000 worker was replaced by a robot, the government would lose income-tax revenue. Therefore, Mr. Gates suggested, the feds can make up their loss with “some type of robot tax.”

This is the dumbest idea since Messrs. Smoot and Hawley rampaged through the U.S. Capitol in 1930. It’s a shame, especially since Bill Gates is one of my heroes.

When I started working on Wall Street, I was taken into rooms with giant sheets of paper spread across huge tables. People milled about armed with rulers, pencils and X-Acto Knives, creating financial models and earnings estimates.

Spreadsheets, get it? This all disappeared quickly when VisiCalc, Lotus 1-2-3 and eventually Microsoft Excel automated the calculations. Some fine motor-skill workers and maybe a few math majors lost jobs, but hundreds of thousands more were hired to model the world. Should we have taxed software because it killed jobs? Put levies on spell checkers because copy editors are out of work?

Mr. Gates killed as many jobs as anyone: secretaries, typesetters, tax accountants—the list doesn’t end. It’s almost indiscriminate destruction. But he’s my hero because he made the world productive, rolling over mundane and often grueling jobs with automation. The American Dream is not sorting airline tickets, setting type or counting $20 bills. Better jobs emerged.

Mr. Gates may be worth $86 billion—who’s counting?—but the rest of the world made multiples of his fortune using his tools. Society as a whole is better off. In August 1981, when Microsoft’s operating system first began to ship, U.S. employment stood at 91 million jobs. The economy has since added 53 million jobs, outpacing the rate of population growth.

Even better, the Third World is rising out of poverty because of improved logistics from personal computers and servers. This has dramatically lowered the cost of basic food, energy and health care. None of this happens without productive tools—doing more with less.

What’s most disturbing is that the Luddites never totally went away. How many times have we been subject to proposals that would tax progress? ObamaCare’s regulations froze the medical industry. Its 2.3% medical-device tax was even worse, discouraging investment in one of the few innovative health-care sectors. Mileage standards on automobiles were a waste of resources contributing to the moronic Detroit bailout in 2009. Even a carbon tax is Ludd-like, raising the cost of energy to slow its consumption.

There is a murmuring movement out of Europe known as “degrowth.” If this sounds to you like a cabal of cave dwellers, you’re not that far off. Degrowth Week in Budapest last summer featured enchanting sessions like this one: “Popular competence building against the Technocracy.” Channeling Ludd, industrial insurgents and sustainability samurais want to keep things the way they are, like the eco-protesters at Standing Rock. The site degrowth.org is clear about the movement’s unproductive goals: Consume less and share more.

OK, but do you want to give up Google Maps, Snapchat and future innovations? Pry them out of my cold dead thumbs. Surely Mr. Gates knows that his charitable foundation’s efforts to eradicate malaria and other diseases require a lot of productive capital and hard work. I can’t picture him clamoring to tax robots that lower the cost of malaria drugs or mosquito nets. That kind of tax would kill off the next wave of disease-killing productivity.

I don’t think Mr. Gates wants to be the poster boy for the degrowth movement. He knows how hard progress is. After PCs, Microsoft missed the start of every subsequent technology trend: browsers, video streaming, search, smartphones and cloud computing. Today the company is playing catchup with neural computing, which drives image recognition and other robotic cognitive skills. This type of innovation, even if it destroys jobs near-term, needs to be nurtured and encouraged. Burden progress with taxes, and degrowth is what you’ll get.

 Mr. Kessler, a former hedge-fund manager, is the author of “Eat People” (Portfolio, 2011).

 

Money Managers to be Replaced by Robots

MW-FJ393_robot_20170330155035_ZHTri-Star/Courtesy Everett Collection

Artificial Intelligence is prepared to take jobs at all levels, managerial as well as labor.

By SARAH KROUSE, March 28, 2017 for The Wall Street Journal

BlackRock Inc. has started a shake-up of its stock picking business, relying more on robots rather than humans to make decisions on what to buy and sell.

The firm has become the world’s largest asset manager, with $5.1 trillion in total assets, in large part because of its dominant position in low-cost, passive investment such as exchange-traded funds.

But its stock-picking unit – which depends on money managers to choose investments – has lagged rivals in performance and clients have been withdrawing their money.

The company has taken the view that it is difficult for human beings to beat the market with traditional bets on large U.S. stocks. So the firm on Tuesday announced an overhaul of its actively-managed equities business that will include job losses, pricing changes and a greater emphasis on computer models that inform investments. Seven stock portfolio managers are among several dozen employees who are expected to leave the firm as part of the revamp, a person familiar with the matter said.

The firm is offering its Main Street customers lower-cost quantitative stock funds that rely on data and computer systems to make predictions, an investment option previously available only to large institutional investors. Some existing funds will merge, get new investment mandates or close.

The changes are the most significant attempt yet to rejuvenate a unit that has long lagged behind rivals in performance. Clients have pulled money from the actively managed stock business in three of the past four years even as BlackRock’s total assets climbed to a record $5.1 trillion. BlackRock had $275.1 billion in active stock assets under management at the end of December, down from $317.3 billion three years earlier. . . .

Three days later WSJ follows up with this article:

By RYAN VLASTELICA,  March 31, 2017 for The Wall Street Journal

Robots won’t be compiling your portfolio anytime soon.

The recent news that BlackRock Inc.  would be overhauling its actively managed equities business, putting a greater emphasis on computer models rather than human managers, sent a shudder through the heart of stock pickers, who have already seen their status fall amid a broad industry move to passive management. But the change amounts to more of a makeover than a face lift, an expansion of a years-old team rather than an entirely new direction.

In the move, BlackRock is increasing the size of its quantitative analysis division, which uses machine learning and advanced computing capabilities to devise portfolios, at the expense of its traditional active management group, which is run by human managers and has already been falling in size as investors gravitate towards passive products, which simply track indexes like the S&P. While the change will result in a net reduction of funds, with three fewer after the changes are implemented, as well as layoffs of some current managers, the size of the shift is essentially minor.

BlackRock — which oversees more than $5 trillion as the world’s largest asset manager — has roughly $275 billion in its actively managed equity products, according to data provided by the company. About $200 billion of that is in the traditional active group, with the remaining $75 billion in the quant team. Roughly $6 billion is shifting from traditional to quant in the restructuring, with U.S. large-cap funds seeing the biggest impact. Fees for quant-driven funds will also be lowered, BlackRock said . . . .

“The active equity industry needs to change. Asset managers who simply use the same techniques and tools from the past will limit their ability to generate alpha and deliver on client expectations,” said Mark Wiseman, global head of active equities at BlackRock in a press release announcing the changes. “Traditional methods of equity investing are being reshaped by massive advances in technology and data sciences. At the same time, client preferences are shifting, focusing not just on outcomes but on how both performance and fees impact value.”

Investors have gravitated toward passive products over the past decade because they charge lower fees and because data have shown that actively managed products have dismal records of outperforming the market over long periods of time. . . .