Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A), remembers Vanguard Group founder John C. “Jack” Bogle, who died Wednesday at age 89, as a Wall Street revolutionary.
“Jack did more for American investors as a whole than any individual I’ve known,” Buffett told CNBC. “A lot of Wall Street is devoted to charging a lot for nothing. He charged nothing to accomplish a huge amount.”
Bogle was inspired to work in the fledgling business of mutual funds in 1949 after reading an article in Fortune magazine. He founded Vanguard in 1975 as a mutual-fund company that would be owned by its shareholders, creating the first index fund. Vanguard had about $5.3 trillion in global assets under management as of last September.
“He converted, in a 30-year period, a lot of people to the right religion of investing,” Buffett said. “And it’s a good religion. It pays off.”
Buffett, long an admirer of Bogle because of their shared interest in sensible long-term investing, wrote this about Bogle in his annual letter to shareholders in 2016:
“If a statue is ever erected to honor the person who has done the most for American investors, the hands down choice should be Jack Bogle. For decades, Jack has urged investors to invest in ultra-low-cost index funds. In his crusade, he amassed only a tiny percentage of the wealth that has typically flowed to managers who have promised their investors large rewards while delivering them nothing — or, as in our bet, less than nothing — of added value.
“In his early years, Jack was frequently mocked by the investment-management industry. Today, however, he has the satisfaction of knowing that he helped millions of investors realize far better returns on their savings than they otherwise would have earned. He is a hero to them and to me.”
Vanguard CEO Tim Buckley said in a statement on the company website: “Jack Bogle made an impact on not only the entire investment industry, but more importantly, on the lives of countless individuals saving for their futures or their children’s futures. He was a tremendously intelligent, driven, and talented visionary whose ideas completely changed the way we invest. We are honored to continue his legacy of giving every investor ‘a fair shake.’”