With the price of stocks, risky debt and government bonds around the globe up considerably for 2019, investors will be hard-pressed to find strong returns.
But if there's a will, there's a way, says one wealth manager.
The S&P 500 is up almost 17% year-to-date. The Barclays High Yield Corporate Bond Index is up 9.8% this year. The 10-year treasury bond price is up considerably, with the yield down to a measly 1.6%. Negative-yielding government debt has percolated in the European Union.
"You go into the equity markets, but you're very selective in terms of what you buy," said Albert Brenner, director of asset allocation strategy at the People's United Bank. "Now is the time to be searching for individual stock alpha."
How does one do that? Active fund management is the name of the game, rather than being in broad-based ETFs bound to fall with the market, Brenner says.
"There is both an art and a science in terms of selecting actively managed funds," he said. "Despite the fact that actively managed funds have really been coming under some heavy skepticism, there are, in fact, active managers who can outperform benchmarks, including fees."
Performance fees can dilute returns so much, that being in those funds becomes not worth an investor's money. But "with some research or with guidance from an investment professional, they can be found," Brenner said.
To see the rest of how to pick good mutual funds, watch the video above.