The largest active bond mutual funds in U.S. defined contribution plans have outperformed passive options, but with more risk. Over the past 10 years, the 10 largest active funds have all outperformed the largest passive option — the Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund institutional shares. Of the 25 largest mutual funds, 61% of the assets were in active strategies.
The average outperformance was around 100 basis points after fees. Correspondingly, the drawdowns of active funds were about 265 basis points greater on average.