Sunday, 21 July, 2019

Jack Bogle, Vanguard founder and index fund pioneer, dies aged 89

John Bogle who founded Vanguard and revolutionized retirement savings dies at 89 Ex-CEO John Bogle believed in the power of low fees starting to invest early and dispensing with active money managers. DAVID SWANSON Staff
Rhonda Young | 20 January, 2019, 11:16

Bogle, who simplified investing for the masses by launching the first index mutual fund and founded Vanguard Group, died Wednesday, the company said. Mr. Bogle, who had struggled with a congenital heart defect and had several heart attacks, had received a heart transplant in 1996. The cause of Bogle's passing has not been officially revealed, with the Philly that the octogenarian millionaire died of cancer. For instance, as markets sank in 2018, the total return of Fidelity's famed Contrafund [FCNTX.O] beat the S&P 500 index by 2.26 percentage points, a representative performance among large growth funds.

While billionaire Berkshire Hathaway founder Warren Buffett is more of a household name, Morningstar CIO Dan Kemp said Bogle had had more of an impact on everyday savers both due to the assets represented in Vanguard compared to Berkshire Hathaway and through the pressure Vanguard has placed on rival managers' fees.

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"The mutual fund industry lost its way because of the triumph of managers' capitalism over owners' capitalism", Bogle wrote in a typically fiery passage in his 2005 book "The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism".

"Our challenge at the time", Bogle said later, "was to build, out of the ashes of major corporate conflict, a new and better way of running a mutual fund complex".

Until then, investors had to pay stock pickers and managers who often would fail to outsmart the market. For decades, Jack has urged investors to invest in ultra-low-cost index funds.

Another challenge facing index funds is how they will fare in volatile markets.

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It attracted just $11m during its initial underwriting but today, rebranded as the Vanguard 500 Index fund, it is one of the world's largest mutual funds holding $441bn.

He also became something of a curmudgeon in the industry he pioneered through Vanguard Group Inc. His thesis was on the mutual fund industry, which was then still in its infancy.

Initially it flopped, failing to attract the hoped for rush of investors. For example, Edward C. Johnson III, the chairman of Fidelity Investments, has a net worth of $7.4 billion, according to Forbes. But Bogle himself entertained the question past year, amidst the flows to his inventions.

Most fund companies spend huge sums to attract new customers.

Bogle, however, won many converts, too.

After graduating from Princeton in 1951 with an economics degree, Mr. Bogle was hired by Walter L. Morgan, founder of the Wellington Fund, a Philadelphia-based fund management company.

By 1967 he was president of the asset manager and that year led a merger with investment firm Thorndike, Doran, Paine & Lewis (TDPL). The objective was to run Vanguard as cheaply and efficiently as possible, keeping costs at a minimum to the investors who bought its funds.

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"If a statue is ever erected to honor the person who has done the most for American investors, the handsdown choice should be Jack Bogle", he said.

Mr. Bogle and Vanguard again broke from industry tradition in 1977, when Vanguard ceased to market its funds through brokers and instead offered them directly to investors.

Experts say Jack Bogle could have structured his business in a way that would have made him among the richest men on the planet.

In December 1999, he stepped down from the Vanguard board of directors.

John "Jack" Bogle is survived by his wife, Eve, and six children.

The couple had 12 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

"My only regret about money, " he said in 2012, "is that I don't have more to give away".

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