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No Signs of Complacency at Vanguard

Nor has it sold its soul to reach the top.


Each year we review Vanguard from an overall parent standpoint. Our due diligence included meeting with company executives at the firm's Malvern, Pennsylvania, headquarters earlier this year. What follows is an initial assessment of where Vanguard stands today, both its opportunities and challenges. It is not comprehensive, but it's a snapshot of the issues we're thinking about. It also builds on the excellent piece Ben Johnson wrote in May.

Even as it has grown into a $3.5 trillion behemoth in 41 years, Vanguard's core values and mission remain intact. Vanguard continues to focus on helping individual investors succeed, although what form this takes continues to expand and evolve. At the center is its unique structure: Vanguard remains the only firm owned by its fundholders, freeing it from the conflicts of interest inherent in other ownership structures. For Vanguard, that has manifested in a sensible lineup of typically core-oriented strategies and a history of sharing economies of scale with clients in a much more meaningful way than many of its competitors.

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