The death of investment industry titan John Bogle last month was met with an outpouring of tributes and affectionate obituaries the like of which are usually reserved for film stars or sporting heroes.
The reasons for this, as the eulogies pointed out, was that Bogle’s work and personality transcended the boundaries of the average asset manager. He was seen as a highly-principled man, driven by his moral code and integrity, and the legacy he left both as a businessman and in his contribution to investment strategy was huge.
Bogle is best known as the founder of the Vanguard Group investment company and in turn as the originator of the passive investment industry as we know it. Vanguard was established in 1975 based on the idea that a mutual fund should be owned by its investors, and Vanguard have been eternal advocates of long-term, passive investing using mutual funds and ETFs.
A Lasting Legacy
His story begins some years earlier. John Bogle – or ‘Jack’ as he was also known – and his twin brother were born in New Jersey in 1929 just in time to see their once-wealthy family of industrialists lose their fortune to the great stock market crash of the same year. As a teenager he learned the value of money through a number of menial jobs before winning a scholarship to the acclaimed Blair Academy followed by a place at Princeton University.
It’s tempting to speculate over whether Bogle’s early experiences of stock market upheaval and the financial strain it placed on his family informed the investing style he went on to create. It was his belief that the best option for regular investors was not to try to beat or outperform the market but to buy funds of diversified stocks and bonds and hold on to them over the long term, without succumbing to short-term or emotional impulses to react to market fluctuation. This integrity, he believed, would be rewarded with returns over time.
Bogle’s business legacy speaks for itself. The Vanguard Group now has more than $5.1 trillion in assets under management. It is the largest provider of mutual funds and the second-largest provider of exchange-traded funds in the world after BlackRock’s iShares. His impact on broader global investment strategy is also evident all around us. The passive investing style he pioneered has blossomed into a $10tn+ industry, and is still growing.
In his life and work, John Bogle had a significant influence on asset management but there will always be competing schools of thought in any field. In giving birth to passive investing he took a position which at the time was unpopular and unconventional but he persisted undeterred, and now the investment world has benefited from and absorbed his thinking; it’s in our tool-box as asset managers and in the portfolios of our investors.
The 21st Century Investment Managers
Bogle wasn’t scared to look at the status quo with an honest determination to improve it for everyday investors, wherever this thinking ultimately took him. Whatever our investment style or preference, this is surely a mindset that we can all admire and use to inform our own approach going forward.
At Progeny Asset Management, we think of ourselves as the 21st century investment managers. We work with respected industry partners and use all the investment tools available to develop our innovative offering. We listen to advisers and remain agile and responsive to client needs and market conditions. In summary:
- Our performance-focused approach and robust and tested processes are designed to ensure investors’ plans and portfolios deliver the best possible outcome.
- We aim to provide an exceptional service and our pioneering solutions have been developed with the demands of today’s investor in mind.
- Establishing the level of risk you are comfortable with enables us to choose the appropriate investments to match your risk profile, while ensuring you meet your investment targets.
- In the post-MifiD II era of greater (and welcome) transparency, an awareness of costs will become a key differentiator for investors and advisers choosing an asset manager. Too often they can find themselves paying for poor investment performance and sub-standard service. Just like Jack Bogle, we’re conscious of costs and their impact on the discerning investor, making sure that we always add value.
If you would like to discuss your asset management requirements, as an independent financial adviser or as a private client, please get in touch. We’d love to talk with you.
This article does not constitute Investment advice. Individuals must not rely on this information to make a financial or investment decision. Before making any decision, we recommend you consult your Investment Manager to take into account your particular investment objectives, financial situation and individual needs. Past performance is not a guide to future performance. The value of an investment and the income from it may go down as well as up and investors may not get back the amount originally invested, therefore your capital is always at risk.