Jack Bogle Talks Indexing

A recent Barron’s profile of Vanguard founder and indexing pioneer Jack Bogle offers an overview of the industry legend’s career as well as the contributions—and controversy—surrounding his market views. The article includes an interview with Bogle in which the octogenarian addresses critic’s concerns about indexing, the “Age of the ETF” and the need for lower cost investing going forward.

Here are some interview highlights:

  • While some in the industry feel that index investors are not allocating capital properly—the biggest stocks make up the biggest percentages of most indexes—Bogle says the market has little to do with it. “If someone is buying,” he said, “somebody else is selling.”
  • Bogle doesn’t see the current level of indexing (index funds account for 43% of all stock fund assets) as a problem. In fact, he argues, he wouldn’t be concerned if the level reached 70%.
  • Bogle concedes that indexing has spurred the dawn of ETFs, which he says entices investors to trade instead of hold for the long term. “Bogle fears that ETFs are purely speculative,” the article reports, “encouraging selling at the bottom and buying at the top.”