John C. Bogle, who simplified investing for the masses by launching the first index mutual fund and founded Vanguard Group, died Wednesday, the company said. He was 89. Bogle did not invent the index fund, but he expanded access to no-frills, low-cost investing in 1976 when Vanguard introduced the first index fund for individual investors, rather than institutional clients, the AP reports. The emergence of funds that passively tracked market indexes, like the Standard & Poor's 500, enabled investors to avoid the higher fees charged by professional fund managers who frequently fail to beat the market. More often than not, the higher operating expenses that fund managers pass on to their shareholders cancel out any edge they may achieve through expert stock-picking.
Vanguard helped usher in a new era of investing, and index funds have increasingly become the default choice for investors. Bogle was born to a well-off family in New Jersey in 1929 and graduated from Princeton with a degree in economics in 1951. He served as Vanguard's chairman and CEO from its 1974 founding until 1996. He stepped down as senior chairman in 2000, but remained a critic of the fund industry and Wall Street, writing books, delivering speeches and running the Bogle Financial Markets Research Center. "Jack Bogle had unwavering passion for America, our capital markets, and most of all our Main Street investors," said Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton.
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