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Bogle: Latest Investor Trends Are Just That--Trends

Vanguard founder John Bogle on strategic beta, alternatives, and narrowly focused index funds.


Benz: I'd like to get your take on some of the big trends that we've seen either in terms of fund rollouts or in terms of where investors are putting their dollars. One of the biggest buzz terms in the industry these days is strategic beta or a smart beta. What's your take on that particular phenomenon?

Bogle: First of all, what the devil are they talking about when they say smart beta? I think it was Bill Sharpe who said smart beta is stupid; and I think he is right, by the way. It's just another marketing gimmick with an easy tag. We all want smart, don't we? But it's what this industry has been selling for a long time: management that will give you better performance. And I just don't see that there's anything there except a big claim to be able to do better. Most of it is available through ETFs, because that's the easiest entrée into the mutual fund marketplace today by far. So, I'd say if anybody can explain it to you, find out that before you reject it.

Christine Benz does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.