The Jack Bogle Legacy: The American College Remembers Former Trustee and Industry Icon

The American College of Financial Services
January 23, 2019

A famous quote also serves well as the headline for what embodies the spirit of the index fund:

"Don't look for the needle in the haystack. Just buy the haystack."

The man who spoke those words, John “Jack” Bogle, founder of The Vanguard Group, and inventor of the index mutual fund, passed away on January 16, 2019, at the age of 89.

Bogle, who served on the Board of Trustees of The American College of Financial Services from 1981-1987, revolutionized the investment industry and is among the most influential investors of the past century.

His contributions to the financial services profession have deeply impacted the lives of investors, thought leaders, and countless families saving for their future.

Courtesy of The Institute for Fiduciary Standard via Wikimedia Commons.

With his passing, the faculty at The American College have shared some thoughts on the impact Bogle made on the profession and to them personally.

Dr. Benjamin Cummings, CFP®
Associate Professor of Behavioral Finance

 John Bogle was a visionary who saw a way to make investing more efficient by providing low-cost access to diversified investments. Then he took the risk to start a company built on that philosophy, and it worked, becoming one of the largest investment firms in the world. I made my first retirement investment in a Vanguard mutual fund when I was in college, and I’ve held Vanguard investments ever since. Thanks, John, for helping me and millions of others prepare for their financial future.

Dr. Michael Finke, CFP®
Chief Academic Officer

The revolution in finance theory of the 1960s made it clear that individual investors needed a way to access the equity market using low cost, well diversified financial products. Bogle stuck with his vision despite adversity and created an institution that gave investors greater retirement security and a company they could trust. Bogle was a reminder that companies can do good and do well by providing consumers with the right investments and embracing transparency and quality.

Dr. Gerald Herbison, ChFC®, CASL®, CFP®, CLF®
Assistant Professor of Management

John Bogle created a way for self-directed investors to save without incurring the costs associated with full-service mutual funds. Vanguard continues to be a company that serves mass market investors in a true low-cost model, which takes discipline that most companies can’t maintain. John Bogle was a visionary.

Theodore Kurlowicz, JD, LLM, CAP®, ChFC®, CLU®, AEP®
Professor of Estate Planning and Taxation

The concept of low fee mutual fund investing brought participation in equity investing to the masses. And it certainly enhanced self-investing for the middle class. Accumulating for retirement is an essential step and I personally can appreciate the concept created by Mr. Bogle because of my own retirement planning.

David Littell, JD, ChFC® 
Professor of Taxation

John Bogle and Vanguard made investing easy – I certainly appreciated this as a youngster looking to save for retirement. Today as I’m about to retire I certainly appreciate the advice. Contribute regularly, invest in low-cost equity-based mutual funds, don’t look at your statements, and your wealth really will add up over the years. Thanks John Bogle.  

Kevin Lynch, MBA, CFP®, ChFC®, CLU®, RHU®, REBC®, CASL®, CAP®, CLF®, LUTCF, FSS, RICP® 
Faculty Instructor

My step father passed away July 24, 2018, just 38 days away from his 94th birthday. His legacy to my sisters and me, financially, included substantial holdings in mutual funds. His largest holding was his Vanguard account. My dad taught me many different things, but one of the most important lessons he taught me, he learned from John Bogle. “Start early, save regularly, keep your costs low, and never react to market volatility.”

Kirk Okumura, MSFS, ChFC® 
Academic Director

John Bogle may be the person single-most responsible for democratizing investing, and making investing in securities markets accessible to millions of Americans. He will forever be to me the father of indexing, providing a cost-effective alternative to active management to those of us who subscribe to some version of efficient markets. On behalf of the millions of investors impacted by his contributions to the industry: Thank you, John. You will be missed.

Dr. Wade Pfau, CFA®
Professor of Retirement Income

One of my career highlights was being able to award John Bogle with the Consumer Advocate Award from the Retirement Income Industry Association in 2014. Here is an excerpt from my introduction for him:

As mutual funds are a dominant element of American retirement plans, the work of John Bogle to develop broadly diversified, low-cost indexed mutual funds at Vanguard has provided the tools used by millions of Americans to meet their retirement goals. John Bogle has played an instrumental role in educating the public about this, including writing one of the fundamental investor education books, his best-selling “Common Sense on Mutual Funds: New Imperatives for the Intelligent Investor.” John Bogle has dedicated his life and career to serving as a tireless advocate for greater ethical standards, trusteeship, and service from the financial industry. By placing the interests of clients first, John Bogle has demonstrated how to build trust and confidence in financial services. John Bogle reminds us that we are part of an industry designed to help people develop appropriate retirement income strategies by developing our specialized knowledge and skills, formulating best practices, and thinking outside the box.

 Ross Riskin, CPA/PFS, CCFC
Assistant Professor of Taxation

John Bogle truly personified the term “vanguard.” Not only was he focused on the impact investing and investment costs have on the consumer over the long-run, he was focused on educating consumers and financial advisors, which really hits home for me given what I strive to do as an academic, and especially as I reflect on what The American College stands for. John’s book, “The Little Book of Common Sense Investing,” has been on my bookshelf for many years as it has served as both a reminder for me of what he stood for and as a resource I have made a part of financial planning courses I have taught and currently teach. While John is no longer with us, his knowledge and wisdom will carry on and I won’t simply remember him as a pioneer in the financial services industry, but rather as an educator.


On behalf of The American College of Financial Services, we thank Jack Bogle for his contributions to The College’s Board of Trustees and the MDRT Foundation Hall. His vision will be missed, though his legacy and teachings will forever impact the financial services profession and investors alike.