John Bogle, Vanguard founder and low-cost investing pioneer, dies at 89
John Bogle, whose family’s struggles during the Great Depression led him to pioneer low-cost investing and to found Vanguard Group, now the world’s biggest mutual fund firm, died on Wednesday at the age of 89, Vanguard said, Trend reports citing Reuters.
Bogle had been in frail health for years, surviving at least six heart attacks and receiving a heart transplant in 1996. The cause of death was cancer, according to Bogle’s assistant Michael Nolan.
Despite ill health, Bogle was a vital presence through his later years as he pressed for reforms in corporate governance and fund administration.
He often mixed sharp rhetoric with a wry sense of humor and established a reputation as a curmudgeon in his industry, at times at odds with Vanguard executives who eventually stripped him of much of his power within the organization.
Still Bogle, known widely as Jack, kept deep professional friendships and maintained a loyal following through his books and public speaking appearances. Some termed themselves “Bogleheads” in his honor and spread online his messages of thrift and investments in low-fee funds.
“Jack did more for American investors as a whole than any individual I’ve known,” billionaire Warren Buffett said in a statement.
At the 2017 annual meeting of his company Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N), which Bogle attended, Buffett estimated that by making low-cost index funds so popular for investors, Bogle “put tens and tens and tens of billions of dollars into their pockets.”
Bogle’s life in many ways was the opposite of his great fund industry rival, Edward “Ned” Johnson III, who inherited control of Fidelity Investments in Boston from his father and employed star active managers like Peter Lynch.
Vanguard, in contrast, promoted low-cost index funds, products that Fidelity and the rest of the industry came to emulate.
“He made himself a centurion to the individual investor,” said Charles Ellis, an industry consultant and a former Vanguard funds director. “He had one great message, about lowering fees, and he kept hammering away at it.”