We lost a good one this month.
John Bogle, the founder and spiritual leader of powerhouse investment firm The Vanguard Group, was maybe better known for being the Grandfather of index funds and passive investing. While these things are commonplace today, he started the first index fund back in 1975. Through unwavering advocacy since then, he has championed the investment solution for all types of investors (we at Sequoia use numerous Vanguard mutual funds and exchange traded funds for our clients) and simultaneously delivered enormous value for very little cost in an industry that is sometimes known for delivering the exact opposite.
Two of our favorite investment writers remember him and his contribution best:
"If a statue is ever erected to honor the person who has done the most for American investors, the hands-down choice should be Jack Bogle. For decades, Jack has urged investors to invest in ultra-low-cost index funds. In his crusade, he amassed only a tiny percentage of the wealth that has typically flowed to managers who have promised their investors large rewards while delivering them nothing – or, as in our bet, less than nothing – of added value. In his early years, Jack was frequently mocked by the investment-management industry. Today, however, he has the satisfaction of knowing that he helped millions of investors realize far better returns on their savings than they otherwise would have earned. He is a hero to them and to me."
Warren Buffett, Chairman & CEO of Berkshire Hathway, 2016 Annual Shareholder Letter
"Under Mr. Bogle, who retired as Vanguard’s chief executive in 1996, Vanguard continually cut the costs of investing, eventually stoking a fee war that roiled an entire industry and created a money-management giant in the Philadelphia suburb of Malvern. Vanguard is now the second-largest asset manager in the world, with $4.9 trillion in assets under management at the end of 2018. His campaign to cut fees put Mr. Bogle squarely into an American tradition of iconoclastic discounters like Henry Ford of Ford Motor, Sam Walton of Walmart and Michael Dell of Dell Inc.—men who built giant companies by selling directly to the consumer at rock-bottom prices. By putting the ability to own a stake in the entire stock market into the hands of any investor who could scrape together what was for many years Vanguard’s required account minimum of $3,000, Mr. Bogle helped democratize financial markets."
Jason Zweig, Columnist at The Wall Street Journal
Bogle was 89 years young and an investment force for good in the world. He, his wisdom and foresight will be sincerely missed.
Contact Russell Moenich to learn more about this topic.
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