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I. INVESTMENT STRATEGIES FOR THE INTELLIGENT INVESTOR, focused on the returns, risks, and costs borne by participants in our stock and bond markets; and the selection of equity and bond mutual funds, with a focus on index funds.
II. TAKING ON THE MUTUAL FUND INDUSTRY, describing past trends and future prospects for the now-giant fund industry, including a discussion of the proper role of mutual funds in the corporate governance of the companies in which they invest. (Hint: I didn't much like what I saw happening in the industry.)
Turning to the mutual fund industry, I described its doughnut-like character: In its frenetic search for sweet, fattening returns, it levied heavy sales charges, charged excessive fees, spent too much on marketing, and failed to share the economies of scale with its investors. Taking into account those direct costs, and adding the indirect costs incurred by funds (transaction costs on high portfolio turnover), and the extra taxes that funds inflicted on fund shareholders, I calculated a performance lag of 5.7 percent per year over the previous 15 years. Stock market annual return, 18 percent; net annual return of the doughnut-like equity funds, 12.3 percent.
This huge disparity made it easy to forecast that, in the years ahead, the actively-managed mutual fund doughnuts will find themselves in a bad way.And so it was to be. The share of the doughnut-like active equity funds plummeted from 99 percent of U.S. equity fund assets in 1984 to 67 percent in 2015. The share of bagel-like passive indexers has increased from 1 percent to an all-time high of 33 percent. Case closed.
But the meat of my impassioned remarks: corporate governance and shareholder value issues in the mutual fund industry itself. Given the deeply-flawed governance system of mutual funds themselves, people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. . . . We may not mind being the artillery of shareholder activism, but we don't want to be its target.
Linking my themes of shareholder value, institutional ownership, and the structure of the mutual fund industry, I noted the obvious: Because of the heavy costs involved in fund ownership (and ultimately, the ownership of the stock market itself), \"the failure of mutual funds to earn their own cost of capital is inevitable.\"
The fact is that Vanguard's economics, like Wilson's, were in important measure, shaped by idealism. For what distinguishes Vanguard from the typical business enterprise is our mission: To place the interest of our investors before our own commercial interests. Our truly mutual mutual fund structure is unique in the fund industry: The funds' management is controlled by the fund shareholders, not by an outside management company, and is operated on an at-cost basis, not for a hefty management fee.
Industry Growth. When I wrote my thesis in 1951, mutual funds were but an afterthought in financial circles. Compared with the massive amounts of money invested in life insurance ($63 billion) and U.S. savings bonds ($58 billion), mutual funds were tiny. While I described the great opportunity for mutual funds to grow in importance, the industry has become even more dominant than I could have dreamed. Today, the mutual fund industry is America's largest financial institution, holding some $15 trillion of investor assets.
Shareholders First. I am no less idealistic today than I was as an undergraduate. I still believe that mutual funds should exist primarily to serve their shareholders. As I said in the conclusion to the thesis, mutual funds should serve the needs both of individual and institutional investors . . . serve them in the most efficient, honest, and economical way possible. . . . Providing advantages to the investor . . . is the function around which all others are satellite.
The Index Fund. While almost a quarter century would pass from the time that I wrote my thesis until I created the world's first index mutual fund, I hinted in the thesis at the powerful idea of indexing. After presenting data comparing the returns of the (then) Standard & Poor's 90-Stock Average to those of some of the leading mutual funds of the day, I concluded, funds can make no claim to superiority over the market averages.
Those ideal characteristics of mutual funds are well along the road to realization; five pretty solid hits. But I also made at least three significant errors, setting forth expectations that the industry has failed to realize.
Fund Costs. I predicted that future industry growth can be maximized by concentration on a reduction of sales charges and management fees. But fund costs have soared to far higher levels than those of the early 1950s. Managers have arrogated the staggering economies of scale in the field of money management to themselves rather than to their fund shareholders. Vanguard alone took heed. Since our founding in 1974, Vanguard's truly mutual structure has allowed us to continually slash both the advisory fees and operating costs that our shareholders incur. And in 1977, we eliminated all sales loads on our funds.
Corporate Governance. I was optimistic that the fund industry would come to serve as an effective counterbalance to corporate managers who lavish excessive compensation and perquisites on themselves at the expense of shareholders. I seconded the SEC's hope that mutual funds would serve the useful role of representative of the great number of inarticulate and ineffective individual owners. I also suggested that the industry not refrain from exerting its influence . . . on corporate policy. Alas, mutual funds have almost completely abdicated their role as corporate America's watchdogs. Fund directors, as I noted earlier (à la Warren Buffett) were expected by federal regulators to behave as Dobermans, but they have behaved as tail-wagging Cocker Spaniels.
John Bogle didn't invent the business of mutual investment funds. They had started before he went to college, but were barely visible. His curiosity about the business was piqued by an article in a magazine as he was ruminating about a thesis topic. That bit of serendipity led not only to an honors thesis but to a lifelong vocation.
All of us dependent on mutual funds or other collective investment institutions to manage our savings, and that is most of us, owe thanks to John Bogle for insisting that our interests be placed front and center.
Paul Merriman is a nationally recognized authority on mutual funds, index investing, asset allocation and both buy-and-hold and active management strategies. Now retired from Merriman, the Seattle-based investment advisory firm he founded in 1983, he is dedicated to educating investors, young and old, through weekly articles at Marketwatch.com, and via free eBooks, podcasts, articles, recommendations for mutual funds, ETFs, 401(k) plans and more, at his website.
John Bogle - founder of the Vanguard Mutual Fund Group and creator of the first index mutual fund - is an industry pioneer. Over the years, he has single-handedly transformed the mutual fund business, and today, his vision continues to inspire investors .It has been over a decade since the original edition of Common Sense on Mutual Funds was first published. While much has changed during this time, the importance of investing and the issues addressed in the original edition of this book have not. Now, in the Fully Updated 10th Anniversary Edition of Common Sense on Mutual Funds, Bogle returns to update his in-depth look at mutual funds and the business of investing - helping you navigate through the staggering array of investment options found in today's evolving investment landscape.
Timely and timeless, this important audiobook examines the fundamentals of mutual fund investing in turbulent market environments and offers valuable guidance for building an investment portfolio. Along the way, Bogle shows you that simplicity and common sense still trump costly complexity, and that a low cost, broadly diversified portfolio continues to be the best way to build wealth at the lowest cost and risk - and will almost always outperform more expensive, actively managed mutual funds.Throughout, Bogle skillfully presents a platform for intelligent investing as he analyzes costs, exposes tax inefficiencies, and warns of the mutual fund industry's conflicting interests.
Trying to outwit the market is a bad gamble. If you're serious about investing for the long run, you have to take a no-nonsense, businesslike approach to your portfolio. In addition to covering all the basics, this new edition of All About Asset Allocation includes timely advice on learning which investments work well together and why, selecting the right mutual funds and ETFs, creating an asset allocation that's right for your needs, knowing how and when to change an allocation, and understanding target-date mutual funds.
The former Vanguard Chief Executive, Bogle has long been mutual funds' most outspoken critic; in this classic book, he provides guidance on what you should and shouldn't believe when it comes to mutual funds, along with the story of persistence and perseverance that led to this seminal work. You'll learn the differences between common stock, bond, money market, and balanced funds, and why a passively managed \"index\" fund is a smarter investment than a fund managed by someone making weighted bets on individual securities, sectors, and the economy. Bogle reveals the truth behind the advertising, the mediocre performance, and selfishness, and highlights the common mistakes many investors make.
John C. Bogle (Bryn Mawr, PA) is Founder of The Vanguard Group, Inc., and President of the Bogle Financial Markets Research Center. He created Vanguard in 1974 and served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer until 1996 and Senior Chairman until 2000. He had been associated with a predecessor company since 1951, immediately following his graduation from Princeton University, magna cum laude in Economics. The Vanguard Group is one of the two largest mutual fund organizations in the world. Headquartered in Malvern, Pennsylvania, Vanguard comprises more than 100 mutual funds with current assets totaling about $742 billion. Vanguard 500 Index Fund, the largest fund in the group, was founded by Mr. Bogle in 1975. In 2004, TIME magazine named Mr. Bogle as one of the world's 100 most powerful and influential people, and Institutional Investor presented him with its Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1999, FORTUNE designated him as one of the investment industry's four \"Giants of the 20th Century.\" In the same year, he received the Woodrow Wilson Award from Princeton University for distinguished achievement in the nation's service.\" 153554b96e