The passive versus active management debate wages on, but a new report on 2011 performance gives more weight to index and ETF investing. According to the 2011 S&P Indices Versus Active Funds Scorecard (SPIVA), 84 percent of actively managed U.S. equity funds underperformed their relative S&P benchmark in 2011. About 80 percent of global bond funds underperformed their benchmarks last year.

But Srikant Dash, managing director, index research and design, S&P Indices, said the one-year numbers are not very meaningful because they can differ significantly from year to year. Instead, the long-term numbers are more informative, he said. But those also show active managers underperform. For the previous three- and five-year periods, about 56 percent and 61 percent of actively managed equity funds underperformed, respectively...

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(Read more from Staff Writer, Diana Britton on her blog, Yield of Dreams.)