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Mark Gilbert

Can Captain Kirk Save the Fund Management World?

Star Trek shows money managers how to live long and prosper.

William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk

William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk

Photographer: CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images.

The asset management industry is in a deep funk. Active products, which enriched stock-pickers more than customers, are out of vogue. Margins are dropping faster than the mercury in a polar vortex. Regulators are examining everything from benchmarking to marketing. Maybe salvation can be found in the Star Trek movie “The Wrath of Khan.” Bear with me.

Spend long enough reading about the industry, and two thoughts are likely to strike you: That most firms in the business of managing other people’s money are in terminal decline, and that they brought it on themselves by overcharging customers and under-performing simple, cheap index tracking funds.