Memo to Veterans and Principals
Mike - Jul 24, 2015
TO: Veterans and Principals
FROM: John C. Bogle
DATE: March 16, 2015
RE: Financial Times Op-Ed
I penned a commentary for today’s Financial Times “Fund Management” section about the role of exchange-traded funds in the growth of indexing. I describe my concerns with the rapid trading so common with ETFs. The first and largest ETF—the $190 billion SPDR S&P 500 ETF—is the most widely traded equity in the world, averaging over $20 billion in turnover every day. As I wrote in the article, “broad-market exchange traded funds are fine, as long as investors don’t trade them.”
The front page of the FTfm section picked up that commentary in an article by journalist Chris Newlands. The headline of the article is rather over-the-top—“John Bogle renews attack on exchange traded funds”—but the facts presented by Mr. Newlands are accurate.
I like to think that Vanguard is a firm in which constructive debate is tolerated, perhaps even encouraged. My piece in today’s FTfm is a prime example of a case where, as Bill McNabb recently said, “reasonable people can disagree.”
Speech at Georgetown Law
Mike - Nov 05, 2014
Jack delivered a keynote speech before the Public-Private Partnership Symposium at Georgetown University School of Law on October 31, 2014. Titled “Values, Ethics, and Structure in Finance,” the speech discusses the importance of getting the right structure of business model and incentives in order to have a financial system that serves the needs of clients first.
“Values, Ethics, and Structure in Finance,” October 31, 2014, Georgetown University School of Law.
The Future of Investing
Mike - Jul 09, 2014
Jack was featured in The Wall Street Journal’s “The Future of Everything” special report celebrating the Journal’s 125th anniversary.
John C. Bogle on the Future of Investing
“The Philosopher of Finance”
Mike - Jun 12, 2014
Jack has done numerous interviews on NPR, and has found public radio to be an ideal platform for conveying Vanguard’s values to both our clients and the general investing public. His most recent interview, by David Freudberg, host of the Humankind series, was titled “The Philosopher of Finance” and consists of two half-hour segments. In the interview, Jack and David discuss topics regarding human values, as well as issues that are of vital importance for long-term investment success.
The interview will be released as a free podcast today. Instructions on how to access the podcast are below. I hope you’ll enjoy this discussion of our values and the keys to ensuring a secure retirement.
There are two ways you can hear this program:
1. The public radio producer will be making “The Philosopher of Finance” available for free download at their podcast
Humankind on Public Radio starting at noon on Thursday, June 12, 2014. (Those who subscribe to the podcast will then be able to hear a new episode of Humankind each week at no charge.) The podcast can be accessed here: http://tinyurl.com/HumankindPodcast
2. Those who wish to purchase a CD copy may place an order here:
John C. Bogle to Speak at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church
Mike - Apr 17, 2014
John C. Bogle will speak at the Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church on Monday, April 28, at 7:30 p.m. Below is some additional detail about the event from bmpc.org.
Finance Icon John C. Bogle to Speak at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church
BRYN MAWR, Pa. (April 10, 2014) – As part of its Community Forum Distinguished Speaker Series, Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church will host John C. Bogle, founder and former CEO of the Vanguard Group, Inc., on Monday, April 28, at 7:30 p.m. as he speaks on the topic of “Financial Reform: Investment Standards and Ethical Values.”
At Vanguard, Bogle pioneered low-cost index investing and no-load mutual funds. He is the author of ten books, including The Clash of the Cultures: Investment vs. Speculation and The Little Book of Common Sense Investing, and is currently president of Vanguard’s Bogle Financial Market Research Center.
In The Vanguard Experiment: John Bogle’s Quest to Transform the Mutual Fund Industry (1996), biographer Robert Slater describes the life of John Bogle as “evolutionary, iconoclastic and uncompromisingly committed to his founding principles of putting the interests of the investor first and constructively criticizing the fund industry for practices that run counter to low-cost, client-oriented mutual fund investing.” Bogle questions, among other issues, current practices in executive compensation, political donations, and marketing expenditures.
This free event will be held in the church Sanctuary and is open to the public. Reservations are not necessary. For more information, visit www.bmpc.org or call 610–525-2821.
About Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church
Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church (BMPC), located at 625 Montgomery Avenue, Bryn Mawr, Pa., was first organized by 16 men and women in 1873, and today serves as a Christian community of more than 2,500 members of all ages. Known for its open-minded and inclusive theology, the church provides opportunities to connect with God’s word in Sunday worship services, Sunday school, adult education classes, youth activities, confirmation class, fine arts or music, interest groups, and community service/outreach activities, and serves as a place to gather, learn, and serve God. For more information about Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, please call 610–525-2821 or visit www.bmpc.org.
Donna Barrickman, Communications Director
610–525-2821, ext. 8809
A high-resolution photo of John C. Bogle is available here. (To save the photo, right click and select “Save Image As”)
Ring In the New
Mike - Jan 02, 2014
January 2, 2014
To VANGUARD VETERANS AND PRINCIPALS:
“Ring In the New” follows the “Ring Out the Old” note that I sent you on December 31, 2013. As 2014 begins, I’m pleased to send my first mailing of the new year, an essay entitled, The Arithmetic of “All-In” Fund Expenses. (Financial Analysts Journal, January/February 2014, ahead of print.) This Perspectives piece is my eighth article for this top professional journal, aimed importantly at CFA charterholders. (Congratulations to our 200 Vanguard crewmembers who have met these demanding standards!)
My FAJ essay breaks new ground in its attempt to fill a huge gap in the analysis of the impact of mutual fund costs on shareholder returns. Up until now, consideration of fund costs has been almost universally limited to expense ratios, which currently average 1.12 percent for actively-managed equity funds. My piece notes that there are other, even higher costs that must be taken into consideration: fund portfolio turnover costs, cash drag, and sales loads and fees paid to brokers and financial advisers. By my calculation, those costs come to about 1.15 percent (a conservative estimate), bringing total costs of actively-managed equity funds to 2.27 percent annually.
I go even further in my article, and consider the impact of taxes for investors in active funds—I estimate 0.75 percentage points—and the costs of investor behavior (buying funds after they hit the jackpot). Based on Morningstar data, I use an estimate of 1.20 percentage points. Now we’re up to a total of 4.22 percent in costs of actively-managed funds.
Now, let’s assume a stock market annual return over the coming decade at a reasonable 7 percent in nominal terms. With, say, 2 ½ percent inflation, that’s a 4 ½ percent real return. “All-in” fund costs would confiscate 94 percent of the stock market’s annual real return. In essence, that’s why “costs matter,” and why low-cost index funds are thriving.
My article represents an extension of the data produced by Nobel Laureate William F. Sharpe in the FAJ of a year ago on the subject of expense ratios of active funds vs. index funds. He likes my broader approach, and has already endorsed my new article: “What a wonderful combination! . . . Your final sentence says it once again, concisely and powerfully.”
Morningstar’s veteran analyst (and noted skeptic) John Rekenthaler has also endorsed my essay: “The best treatment yet of the subject.” As John approvingly comments on my cost estimates, “Better roughly right than precisely wrong.”
I hope those of you concerned with these issues will give “The Arithmetic of ‘All-In’ Investment Expenses” the attention I believe it merits in making an even stronger case for index funds, well beyond the data that we conventionally rely upon. The final three paragraphs of my long paper provide the essential message, and I encourage all crew members to consider this vital addition to the full understanding of the “all-in” costs of active investing.
P.S. As is my practice, I’m also posting this paper on my eblog, www.johncbogle.com, where it is available to all crew members and to the public.
 The final sentence of my essay: Do not allow the tyranny of compounding costs to overwhelm the magic of compounding returns. (Italics in original.)