RIP:  Jack Bogle 

John Bogle, the founder of the immensely successful Vanguard investment house, died on Wednesday of this week.  He has been a personal hero for almost as long as I can recall, and is a key example of someone who creates something truly groundbreaking, based upon a clear sense of principle and values.

You can read Warren Buffet's comments in this article, published by Markets Insider.  Bogle was 89 when he died and was an inspiration to many, pioneering an approach to investment which arguably left more value in investors' pockets, and placed rather more emphasis on the aspirations of normal people than on pumping up the egos of celebrity fund managers.

Alongside the creation of a $5.1 Trillion fund management group which now operates globally with average fund expense ratios in the UK of 0.12%, Jack, as he was known, found the time to write a whole pile of books, several of which have been our 'bibles' here at ValidPath over the years.  Here are some of our favourites:

  • The Little Book of Commonsense Investing (2007)
  • Enough. True Measures of Money, Business, and Life (2009)
  • The Clash of Cultures, Investment vs Speculation (2012)
Of these three, I would say that Enough is the one which has had the profoundest impact upon my view of the business of investing.  It's a heartfelt piece of writing - Bogle is clearly very exercised about the proportion of investor value which is (or was) being continually siphoned off stockmarket valuations, with precious little being delivered by way of return.  That little book was pivotal in developing the ValidPath Investment Proposition, which launched in 2011, and is approaching its eighth formal annual review, as I write.

As we have charted our way through the choppy seas of Brexit, having a proposition which offers eleven risk-grades, mapped in linear fashion to mainstream risk-profilers, and with average TERs (excl. platform) of just 0.14%pa has held us in good stead.  The power of excellent reporting, plus the demonstrable positive impact of significant diversification have helped keep clients happy during these uncertain times.

ValidPath members and their clients aren't the only ones to benefit from the courage of Jack Bogle's convictions.  His views on investment may have been derided some forty years ago, but they are now mainstream and emulated in multiple contexts.

Here is Vanguard's own tribute to this inspirational man.

Kevin Moss, 17/01/2019