The Vanguard Group
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|Founded||May 1, 1975|
|Headquarters||Malvern, Pennsylvania, United States|
|Key people||William McNabb, President
John J. Brennan, Chairman
John C. Bogle, Founder,
Marc Stevenson, Vice Chairman, CFO
|Products||Mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, brokerage, asset management|
|AUM||US$2.0 trillion (January 2013)|
|Employees||More than 14,000 in the United States and abroad as of September 30, 2013|
The Vanguard Group is an American investment management company based in Malvern, Pennsylvania, that manages approximately $2.0 trillion in assets. It is the third largest provider of Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in the US, with approximately $337.2 billion in ETF assets under management, as of Jan. 21, 2014. It offers mutual funds and other financial products and services to retail and institutional investors in the United States and abroad. Founder and former chairman John C. Bogle is credited with the creation of the first index fund available to individual investors, the popularization of index funds generally, and driving costs down across the mutual fund industry.
Vanguard is owned by the funds themselves and, as a result, is owned by the investors in the funds.
The index fund philosophy
For his undergraduate thesis at Princeton, John C. Bogle conducted a study in which he found that around three quarters of mutual funds did not earn any more money than if they invested in the largest 500 companies simultaneously, using the S&P 500 stock market index as a benchmark. In other words, three out of four of the managers could not pick better specific "winners" than someone passively holding a basket of the 500 largest public U.S companies. The managers could pick specific stocks which would do as well as picking the 500 largest stocks (essentially doing as well as random chance would dictate), but the cost to pay their expenses, as well as the high taxes incurred through active trading, resulted in underperforming the index.
At the time, the proverbial riposte to the observation that most funds underperformed the S&P 500 was "of course, you can't invest in an index." John Bogle tried to create a way in which an individual investor could effectively invest in an index. Index funds had already existed for a few years, but were only available to institutions such as pension funds. Having founded Vanguard as a broker-sold mutual fund company, he quickly turned the company into a no-load fund firm (meaning that the buyer pays no sales commission — called a "load" — when buying or selling fund shares) and in 1976 introduced his first index fund. This first index fund for individual investors, called the Vanguard 500 (which invested in the 500 companies that made up the S&P 500), has since out-performed many[which?] other competing large mutual funds. Over $100 billion is invested in this mutual fund, and Vanguard has since created other index funds that focus on stocks in particular industries, countries, or companies of varying size (such as "small-cap" or "mid-cap" indexes).
Bogle retired from Vanguard as chairman in 1999 and was succeeded by John J. ("Jack") Brennan. On August 31, 2008, F. William McNabb III succeeded Brennan as Vanguard's CEO, having served as the organization's president since March of that year.
Since its founding in 1975, Vanguard has grown to become the world’s largest pure no-load mutual fund company. While mostly known for its low-cost index funds, Vanguard also offers a variety of low-cost, actively managed mutual funds and a line of exchange-traded funds (originally branded as VIPERs [Vanguard Index Participation Receipts].) Vanguard also provides brokerage services, variable and fixed annuities, educational account services, financial planning, asset management, and trust services.
Vanguard contracts the management of its actively managed funds to various investment firms and sets a portion of the management expenses paid by shareholders based on the fund's performance. Its oldest fund is the Wellington Fund, formed on July 1, 1929 and managed by Wellington Management Company.
Vanguard's corporate headquarters is located near Philadelphia in Malvern, Pennsylvania. It has satellite offices in Charlotte, North Carolina and Scottsdale, Arizona. The company also has offices in Australia, Asia, and Europe.
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