To: Veterans and Principals
From: John C. Bogle
Date: November 23, 2015
Re: “Distinguished Service to Humanity”
Last Thursday evening, November 19, I was honored by the National Academy of Social Sciences with their Gold Medal for Distinguished Service to Humanity. (They’ve been awarding these medals for 101 years.)
The award was based (as the attached dinner announcement states) on my “invention of the first index mutual fund.” I prepared my remarks well before the day of the dinner, and edited them to meet the time constraints of such events.
Nonetheless, I’ve had my talk reprinted in its entirety. I’m guessing that many of you will be interested in the creation of Vanguard, which quickly led to the creation of the world’s first index mutual fund.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. We at Vanguard have so much to be thankful for!
To: Vanguard Veterans and Principals
From: John C. Bogle
Date: July 23, 2015
Re: Vanguard History
As the years roll on, I have come to realize that too much of our proud history inevitably fades away. So I’ve taken on the responsibility of building a first-person chronicle of the events surrounding our major mutual funds.
My first initiative was to tell the story of Wellington Fund, which appeared as Chapter 8 of my 2012 book The Clash of the Cultures.
My second initiative was the history of Vanguard PRIMECAP Fund (attached to this memo), which I completed a year ago in celebration of its 30th Anniversary. Memories fade, so I enlisted the cooperation of PRIMECAP’s co-founder Mitch Milias to assure that the history reflects the actual events surrounding our creation of this extraordinary mutual fund that has done so much to burnish our reputation in low-cost active management.
My third initiative will turn to the creation of Windsor II, recently celebrating its 30th Anniversary. The formation of Windsor II is a fascinating story, in which we ignored “the rules of the game” in the fund industry, and even smashed a few of them. Result: another great Vanguard success.
In many, if not most, of these histories, there are few remaining living links to the creation of Wellington, PRIMECAP, Windsor II, and other jewels in our crown. I plan to continue writing these chronologies as long as I’m able, so that future generations of Vanguard crew members can understand the genesis of our remarkable history.
Our fourteenth annual gathering was truly heartwarming and informative–a triumph that gave me much joy and inspiration. Thank you all for coming, for being so attentive, for taking such good care of each other, for enjoying those two days of intensive contemplation, and–of course–for that magnificent walking stick, an echo of Ben Franklin, the consummate entrepreneur and citizen of Philadelphia and the United States of America.
I’ve reviewed my 55-slide (ouch!) presentation, and am posting it on my e-blog–www.johncbogle.com–momentarily. While it’s essentially unchanged from what you saw at our meeting, I did change the order in a few spots, and revised several numbers to conform with other things that I’ve written (notably the expected returns presented on slides #47 and #50. In the interests of continuity and clarity, I’ve also added tag lines at the base of each slide to set what’s coming up next.
Enjoy seeing this presentation again! And enjoy with me another few moments of the memories of the bright sun in which we basked together–intellectually, jointly, and in yet another Philadelphia autumn.
Looking forward, eagerly and hopefully, to Bogleheads XV. Best, always,
To: Veterans and Principals From: John C. Bogle Date: June 8, 2015 Re: CFA Speech
I’m pleased to attach the text of the keynote speech that I delivered at last Thursday’s forum held by the CFA Society of Philadelphia.
It’s entitled “Putting Investors First,” clearly reflecting my long-time mission of developing a federal standard of fiduciary duty. I also talk about the incredible changes in finance in the past, and those we’ll face in the future.
Yes, parts of the speech may be contentious to some, but I think you’ll enjoy some of my career history (pages 4, 5, and 6).
Thanks to each of you, and best wishes, always.
P.S. Earlier in the week I gave the keynote to the Annual Meeting of the Government Financial Officer’s Association (GFOA), some 3,000 state and local officials from (I suppose) every state in the Union, convening at our vast Philadelphia Convention Center. My remarks were short, followed by a 45-minute Q&A session that seemed to be a big hit with the audience. (Maybe I should do that more often!)
To: Vanguard Veterans and Principals From: John C. Bogle Date: May 5, 2015 Re: Lecture at the Securities and Exchange Commission
At the invitation of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement (Asset Management Unit), I addressed a staff of some 300 government officials last Tuesday, April 28.
I decided against giving a formal presentation, and opted for an extensive “slide show”—54(!) slides in all. The presentation will likely need little explanation for those of you who are involved in our investment management and marketing groups. But for many of you, a quick riffle through the slide show will likely be enough. (Enough!)
This presentation has the makings, I think, of a good lecture (or a series of two lectures), or possibly yet another paper for the Financial Analysts Journal or the Journal of Portfolio Management. Who knows? I might even take a shot at it . . . when I get some free time.
The title of the talk is “Conflicts, Conflicts, Everywhere,” borrowed from a speech with the same title by Juliet Riewe (pronounced “REE-vee”), co-chief of the Asset Management Unit. Always good to be on the side of the regulators.
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.
Re: The Cascade of Press Coverage Abates . . . for a Moment.
As promised yesterday, just a single final addition to the recent flurry of favorable public recognition of Vanguard. (Part I, March 4, 2014. The ECONOMIST and The Financial Analysts Journal—“The Arithmetic of ‘All-In’ Investment Expenses.” Part II, March 5, 2014. The Warren Buffett endorsement, etc.)
In Part III, “Finance in Philadelphia–Leadership, Decline, Renaissance,” I’m sending along a major speech on the role of our Greater Philadelphia region in contributing to America’s economy. As you will note, Vanguard is now the leader of our region’s recent renaissance. In that role, each of us here has an obligation to represent our community with knowledge of the past, dedication to high standards, and conduct characterized by integrity and humility.
The text of the speech is preceded by an article in The Philadelphia Inquireron February 7, 2014, reporting on the forum in which I delivered my remarks. One local journalist described my essay as “excellent, revelatory reading. I love the irony of how the Quaker precept of thrift has returned to fashion, thanks to Vanguard, vision, and perseverance.” My historical perspective begins with Robert Morris in 1776 (and, in the same year, the wisdom of Adam Smith). Today, as by far the largest firm in the giant mutual fund industry, we have become the embodiment of thrift and simplicity. These principles work!
I’m back on the speaking circuit a bit (more to come on that later this month). I wasn’t sure whether or not to circulate “Financial Management: Profession or Business?”, the keynote speech I delivered on September 25 at the 70th Anniversary of the Philadelphia CFA Society (Chartered Financial Analyst).
But when the SRO audience at the National Constitution Center gave me a huge ovation for my efforts, and Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Joe DiStefano described the speech as a “stem-winder.” (His column is also attached.) I decided it was better for you at least to have the opportunity to peruse it.
Funny thing: audiences (especially this one) seem to like being critiqued, and inspired to lofty goals.
Jack Bogle delivered a landmark speech before the Boston Security Analyst Society on May 17, 2013.
In this speech, he chronicles, and decries, the radical change in the mutual fund industry’s culture over the span of his long career–from a profession with elements of a business to a business with elements of a profession.
The speech also tells the stories of two dates that will live in infamy:
1) April 7, 1958–the date the federal courts, despite opposition from the SEC, opened the floodgates to allow mutual fund management companies to go public, a date that will live in infamy for mutual fund shareholders.
2) December 31, 1975–the date the first index fund was founded, a date that will live in infamy for mutual fund managers.