Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Vanguard's Bogle Still Speaking out for the `Everyman'

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Vanguard's Bogle Still Speaking out for the `Everyman'

Article excerpt

VALLEY FORGE, Pa. -- John Bogle's title may have changed recently at Vanguard Group, the giant mutual fund company he founded a quarter of a century ago. But his stature as resident legend remains firmly intact.

Young Vanguard employees still halt in midsentence to gaze -- seemingly awestruck -- at Bogle's slightly stooped figure as he makes his way briskly through the employee cafeteria.

No solitary lunches in executive boardrooms for this lifelong maverick.

After decades of shouting longer and louder than anyone in support of low-cost, low-maintenance mutual funds, Bogle has earned his reputation as a fervent man of the people. Indeed, he lists as one of his greatest concerns the growing dichotomy between the rich and the poor in the U.S.

"It scares me to death," he says.

A long-standing reputation for being a bit of a curmudgeon is promptly debunked, however, as he banters cheerfully with Vanguard's cafeteria staff. He prefers metal utensils but sees only plastic forks upon purchasing his usual lunch of a green salad and a diet Snapple iced tea.

Observing Bogle's obvious quandary, a smiling staffer behind a large glass counter says, "Are we out of forks, Mr. Bogle? Hold on. I'll get you one."

Laughing sheepishly, he whispers to a visitor, "They know I'm something of a nut around here."

Last fall Bogle agreed to step down as Vanguard's senior chairman, an exile imposed on him by Vanguard's mandatory retirement policy for employees who turn 70.

But Bogle, who turned 70 last May, did not go gently into that good night. His retirement turned into a public dispute, and he walked away only after Vanguard's board waived the retirement policy and, in a conciliatory gesture, asked him to stay.

A compromise allowed him to keep an office at Vanguard's sprawling campus about 30 miles west of Philadelphia, where he recently opened shop as president of the Vanguard-sponsored Bogle Financial Markets Research Center.

The word retirement was never uttered during a recent two-hour interview with The Associated Press. Instead, Bogle surveyed the current investment landscape, declared the current mania for technology stocks a speculative bubble, and peered into the future of mutual funds. …

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