Will There Ever Be Another Bogle Do Investors Need One

Post on: 16 Март, 2015 No Comment

Will There Ever Be Another Bogle Do Investors Need One

As the financial world sings the praises of Vanguard founder Jack Bogle, and Bogle himself claims there will never be anyone for him to pass his investor champion baton to, Vanguard is less and less resembling the firm he created.

The praise has been strong of late. In fact, according to his loyal “Bogleheads,” Bogle deserves the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His disciples of low-cost investing argue that his reforms of the mutual fund industry opened it up to middle-class investors and put billions of dollars in millions of Americans’ bank accounts, reports the Wall Street Journal .

It’s a legitimate push, too. A petition on the White House website to give Bogle the award is closing in on 3,000 signatures. The Journal’s Allan Roth is one supporter. He writes “As Americans, one of our inalienable rights is the freedom to pursue happiness, which is a much easier task with the financial means to do it. For all his efforts to put those means in our grasp, I personally can’t think of anyone more deserving of this honor.”

The petition comes as many start to ponder Bogle’s legacy and successor. The man is 85 years old now. Yet for all the talk around who will pick up Bogle’s flag, the consensus is clear: nobody is the next Jack Bogle.

The question is discussed on Bloomberg Business. where panelists Jeff Rosenberg of BlackRock and Rob Dietrich of Bloomberg Markets Magazine discuss everything from Bogle’s history to his investing strategy. But the one thing they can’t pin down, or even venture a guess on, is who will fill Bogle’s shoes.

Dietrich and Michael Regan explore the issue a little bit more deeply in a separate Bloomberg piece, discussing a handful of names that have been put forward as the next bannerman of the index fund industry. Those include current Vanguard CEO F. William McNabb and AQR Capital Management co-founder Cliff Asness, but the closest Dietrich and Regan get is to say that some of the nominees are following a similar path as Bogle.

Bogle himself doesn’t think anyone can truly take his place in the fund management industry, Bloomberg reports. He says that nobody has the same drive he does to champion the cause of the average Joe investor. Or, as he puts it to Bloomberg, today’s managers are all too “fat, dumb, and happy” with all the money they’re making to care about the little guy.

Even Vanguard itself isn’t the same as it was under Bogle’s leadership.

The philosophy on which he founded Vanguard in 1974 – that domestic, index-held securities are the way to investors’ hearts and success – isn’t echoed as loudly on the firm’s Pennsylvania campus these days.

Will There Ever Be Another Bogle Do Investors Need One

Vanguard’s investment strategists are investing more money overseas, where they say they see greater value, according to Seeking Alpha. The heaviest allocation is in the firm’s Total Stock Market Index Fund, with 55.6% of assets in foreign securities.

Vanguard is also inching toward active management with the planned launch of its Alternative Strategies Fund. The Journal reports that fund will be both actively managed and marketed toward high-net-worth investors, a twofold divergence from Vanguard’s traditions.

That’s not to say that Vanguard’s moves are bad ones. The Journal reports that the move away from the firm’s narrow focus could ultimately improve its clients’ wealth. They’re just not something that Bogle ever would have considered when he ran the company.

Bogle and his views aren’t going away any time soon, it seems. Bloomberg reports that he still wakes up and heads to his Philadelphia office every morning to help direct Vanguard with more passion and enthusiasm than any other manager.

It is that, according to Forbes’s Phil DeMuth, which makes Bogle a fine American.

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