Jack Bogle Profile & Vanguard Historical Chart in Barron’s Magazine

barr_boglecoverThe Barron’s magazine cover article* this week is a profile of Jack Bogle, founder of Vanguard. It covers a lot of things that Bogle fans may already know (origin story, dislike of ETFs), but there were several bits that were new to me. I look forward to reading his last book that includes an “anecdote-rich history of Vanguard” and personal reflections.

(*Barron’s has a paywall, but usually allows limited access to Google search visitors. Try searching “Jack Bogle’s Battle” in a private window.)

Here’s a chart of how Vanguard has changed since 1974:

vanguardbarr

The article brings up the argument that index funds are becoming too popular and now bad for the world. I don’t worry about this at all. If inefficiencies become easy to take advantage of, things will naturally swing back. The loudest complainers always seem to be high-fee managers who are getting paid less lavishly for their services:

His favorite punching bag remains the mutual-fund industry. He likes to point out that closet indexing is pervasive with actively managed funds, and that traditional funds haven’t passed along economies of scale until pressured by Vanguard’s fees. There have been few casualties yet among asset managers, even as active stock funds suffered outflows nine of the past 10 years. And the industry has surely improved: Investor outcomes are better, costs are lower, information is better, thanks in part to Bogle.

Says Bogle, paraphrasing Martin Luther King Jr., “the arc of fiduciary duty is long, but moving in the right direction.” Bogle intends to see that it keeps doing so. “I have no corporate power,” he continues. “But I believe I still have more ethical and intellectual power. And that is good enough for me.”

Bogle is one of those rare authentic voices who say what they think and don’t care if others agree (even the rich and powerful). The adjective “cantankerous” is used – I hope to be called that eventually!

Comments

  1. Last year’s BRK shareholder meeting, Buffett invited Bogle and asked audiences to give Bogle a round of applause during the meeting. Lots of people took pictures with him during beak time

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