On the other hand, when scrutinizing areas where active managers have been less capable of outperforming benchmarks, investors may consider passive strategies that cover areas like U.S. large-cap blend, U.S. mid-cap blend, U.S. small-cap blend and high-yield funds.

“Use an index-based investment as the core of the allocation and pursue alpha through active sector or industry rotation,” Bartolini said.

For example, Rusty Vanneman, Chief Investment Officer at CLS Investments, revealed that at CLS Investments, core portfolio positions may follow allocations along the lines of 18% active funds, 41% market-cap weighted funds and 42% smart beta funds. These smart beta strategies may also be a good middle ground between active and passive as the indexing methodologies follow traditional actively managed styles but the funds come with the lower cost associated with passive index funds.

Furthermore, Vanneman broke down the equity and fixed-income allocations. CLS Investments focus more on alternative index-based strategies in its equity portfolio, with a 40% tilt toward market cap-weighted funds, 58% smart beta and a smaller 2% active. On the other hand, CLS Investments saw more opportunity for alpha generation through active strategies in its fixed-income portfolio with 45% active funds and 52% market-cap weighted funds.

No matter how investors and advisors choose to break down their portfolio allocation methodology, Larry Whistler, President and Chief Investment Officer at Nottingham Advisors, argued that “all investing involves ‘active’ decision making.”

Whistler also singled out the actively managed SPDR Blackstone/GSO Senior Loan ETF (NYSEArca: SRLN) to help investors with better exposure since a manager is more freely able to weave in and out of the fixed-income market. Blackstone/GSO, which subadvises SRLN, is backed by one of the largest senior loan asset managers in the world. The subadvisor is able to “access new issues, exploit market inefficiencies, avoid cap-weighted concentrations and embrace undervalued sectors,” according to Whistler.

Financial advisors who are interested in learning more about portfolio construction can register for the Thursday, February 15 webcast here.