One of main drivers of the factor and smart beta revolution is how to gain consistent return without having to engage in active management or pay high fees. The Fama-French framework tells us we can use a simple factor framework to better characterize risks relative to a simple benchmark. Smart beta focuses on the fact that rules-based investing can do better than the alternative of discretionary active management.
The advances of finance place an even higher border on active managers to show that they are able to generate value. The value proposition within the asset management industry may just be focused differently than what was expressed years ago. The value of "active management" may be in the structure of risk management and risk factor weighting and not picking stocks. The payment for stock picking may have to switch to payment for risk management and dynamic allocation decisions.