Biography and History

John C. Bogle (1929- ) founded the mutual fund company Vanguard and is a leader in the mutual fund industry. He is an outspoken advocate for low-cost investing, index funds, and the rights of investors, and a critic of the mutual fund industry.

John "Jack" Clifton Bogle and his twin brother David were born on May 8, 1929 in Montclair, New Jersey to William Yates Bogle, Jr. and Josephine Lorraine Hipkins. Bogle graduated from Blair Academy in 1947 and from Princeton University in 1951, where he majored in economics. Bogle also attended the University of Pennsylvania Evening School of Business and Finance from 1952 to 1959. He married Eve M. Sherrerd in 1956 and they had six children: Barbara Josephine, Jean Sherrerd, John Clifton, Jr., Nancy Moore, Sandra Hipkins, and Andrew Armstrong.

Bogle was hired a month after his graduation from Princeton University to be the clerk of Walter L. Morgan, founder and CEO of the Wellington Management Company in Philadelphia, in part on the strength of Bogle's undergraduate thesis on the mutual fund industry. Wellington was at the time one of the largest investment advisors in the United States and a pioneer in the fund industry. Early in his career at Wellington, Bogle was acknowledged as the "heir-apparent" to Morgan. He was named assistant to the president in 1955 and elected to the Board of Directors in 1960. He was promoted to administrative vice president in 1962 and to executive vice president in 1965. In November of 1967, Bogle was elected president and chief executive officer of Wellington and in 1970 also became chairman of the Wellington Funds. From 1969 to 1970, Bogle also served as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Investment Company Institute, the mutual fund industry's trade association, which made him the chief industry spokesman.

The 1970s were a difficult time for securities and particularly for Wellington, which performed worse than most companies. Bogle was also often in conflict with the board, which was majority controlled by individuals from a merger with Boston's Thorndike, Doran, Paine & Lewis, Inc., over investment, marketing, and management strategies. In January of 1974, Bogle was fired by the board of the Wellington Management Company. However, as required by law, the Wellington Funds had an independent board of directors who voted to retain Bogle as chairman. The Vanguard Group was incorporated in June 1974 to handle the administrative functions of the Funds, such as ensuring regulatory compliance and sending mailings to shareholders, with Bogle as chairman and chief executive officer. The investment advisory and distribution operations remained with Wellington. Bogle named the corporation, which was located in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, after Lord Nelson's flagship that defeated Napoleon in the Battle of the Nile, one of the most decisive victories in naval history.

Vanguard had inauspicious beginnings. For eighty months, investors redeemed more shares of Vanguard-distributed funds than they bought. Since that time, however, the mutual fund industry has grown considerably, and Vanguard's growth has exceeded that of the industry. Vanguard began in 1974 with a little over $1 billion in assets. By 1990, Vanguard was the nation's fourth-largest mutual fund company with $50 billion in assets, and by 1993 Vanguard was second-largest behind Fidelity Investments with over $110 billion in assets.

Under Bogle's leadership, Vanguard offered the first index fund to retail investors in 1976, the First Index Investment Trust, which tracked the market benchmark of Standard & Poor's 500 Index. Since that time, Bogle and Vanguard have been the leading proponents for indexing, and Bogle has earned the title of "the father of index funds." Initially, this form of investing was supported by many on Wall Street and the academic world but not among professional investors, and Vanguard's index fund was poorly received. The perception of the funds changed through the 1980s and especially the 1990s, and by 2000 the Vanguard 500 Index Fund (originally the First Index Investment Trust) became the world's largest mutual fund

Throughout his career, Bogle has been a leader and an outspoken critic of the mutual fund industry. He promotes mutual funds and long-term, low-cost investing strategies, especially index-based funds, and has emphasized the importance of putting the fund shareholders' interests first, values which have earned him the title "St. Jack" among some Vanguard shareholders. At the same time, he censures the industry for its fees and practices in his writings and addresses, and in letters to the Securities and Exchange Commission, congressmen, magazine editors, and shareholders. He criticizes what he views as excessive fees, the lack of accountability to the shareholders of funds, deceptive advertising and overly-aggressive marketing strategies, and the conflict of interest in companies that must satisfy their own shareholders by earning a profit through increased fees to fund shareholders. In contrast, Bogle established Vanguard as a not-for-profit corporation owned by the Funds, which operates on the principle of keeping costs to the shareholders of the funds at a minimum.

Bogle stepped down as chief executive officer of Vanguard in 1996 but remained chairman of the Vanguard Funds and the Vanguard Management Company. Bogle's successor as chief executive officer was John J. Brennan, who had been identified as Bogle's heir-apparent for several years. Bogle became senior chairman, and Brennan became chairman, in 1998. Bogle retired from the Vanguard board of directors in 1999, after reaching the mandatory retirement age. Vanguard established the Bogle Financial Markets Research Center that year, with Bogle as president. The center, located on the Vanguard campus, allows Bogle to continue investigating and advocating for his central issues, including buy-and-hold investing, index funds, and low fees for all mutual funds. Bogle writes books, delivers speeches, and serves as a public advocate for investors and mutual funds. He has authored several books, including Bogle on Mutual Funds (1994), Common Sense on Mutual Funds (1999), John Bogle on Investing: The First 50 Years (2001), Character Counts: The Creation and Building of the Vanguard Group (2002), and The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism (2005). As of 2007, Bogle is still the president of the center.

Source: From the finding aid for MC206

  • John C. Bogle Papers. 1948-2007 (inclusive), 1974-2000 (bulk).

    Call Number: MC206

    John C. Bogle (1929- ) founded the mutual fund company Vanguard and is a leader in the mutual fund industry. He is an outspoken advocate for low-cost investing, index funds, and the rights of investors, and a critic of the mutual fund industry. Bogle's papers document his career with Vanguard and Wellington Management Company, and his involvement with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, and include his speeches and correspondence, reports, memoranda, and clippings.

  • John C. Bogle Papers. 1948-2007 (inclusive), 1974-2000 (bulk).

    Call Number: MC206

    John C. Bogle (1929- ) founded the mutual fund company Vanguard and is a leader in the mutual fund industry. He is an outspoken advocate for low-cost investing, index funds, and the rights of investors, and a critic of the mutual fund industry. Bogle's papers document his career with Vanguard and Wellington Management Company, and his involvement with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, and include his speeches and correspondence, reports, memoranda, and clippings.