During April Morningstar released its annual Australian Equities Sector Wrap of 125 qualitative research assessments on Australian equity strategies.
The 125 strategies covered by the ratings agency included 89 Australian large-cap equities strategies and 36 Australian small-cap strategies. There were 99 unlisted trusts, 17 exchange-traded funds, and nine listed investment companies reviewed.
Four funds - BlackRock Advantage Australian Equity, CFS (now First Sentier Investors) Equity Income, Fidelity Future Leaders, and Platypus Australian Equities - were upgraded, while 13 funds were downgraded.
Morningstar said the four upgrades were because of "our increased conviction in the investment team, research capability, and investment process".
"We assess how the large-cap active managers have fared, during the buoyant market of 2019 and distressed market of early 2020, in the continuing struggle for dominance between active and passive managers," Morningstar said in the report.
Morningstar also took a look at those Australian equity strategies outperforming in the first quarter of 2020. Morningstar analysts found that 25 active managers outperformed the index in the first quarter of 2020 and 15 of those (many of which had a growth style approach) that outperformed in the strong equities market of 2019 also outperformed in the first quarter of 2020.
"Unfortunately, once again, around 60 per cent of the active Australian equity large-cap managers failed to beat the index on an after-fees basis, over the first quarter of 2020," the report said.