At a Glance
"The company is doing great competitively speaking"
"People are very nice"
"Formal business attire"
Culture perhaps "too laid-back" at lower levels
"Good, but getting watered down"
More than 30 years old, Vanguard is one of the biggest mutual fund managers in the U.S. having more than $1.0 trillion in assets as of June 2009. It's also grown from 350,000 to more than 19 million shareholder accounts, and from 40 employees to 12,400 in the U.S. alone. Headquartered in the green fields of Valley Forge, Pa., Vanguard also has offices in Scottsdale, Charlotte, Melbourne, Sydney, Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, Singapore, Seoul and Tokyo.
Vanguard offers brokerage services, variable and fixed annuities, financial planning, asset management and trust services to individuals and institutional investors around the world. Vanguard boasts 150 domestic funds (including variable annuity portfolios) and 50 additional funds in international markets. Its Vanguard 500 Index Fund, worth $128 billion, is consistently ranked among the best in the country and the company is often ahead of the pack in its use of technology and e-business strategies.
One of these things is not like the others
Founder John C. Bogle knew he was taking a different track in mutual funds when he launched Vanguard, the "Vanguard Experiment," he called it. Bogle wanted to find ways to cut administrative costs in the mutual fund industry; as a result, Vanguard's model is unlike that of other mutual funds. Instead of being controlled by an external management company, Vanguard is owned by its shareholders and its funds are independent investment companies that in turn own Vanguard. This lowers the funds' operating expenses by cutting middleman fees, and Vanguard further lowers the bottom line by spending very little on marketing. As for the savings, well, those go to the customers who pay low fees. Vanguard's top executives have been vocal in their critique of the mutual fund industry's habit of charging high fees and hitting customers with hidden costs.
Join the crew
If you work at Vanguard, you're not an employee; you're a "crew member." All employees have been called crew members from day one; the firm itself was named for the ship British admiral Sir Horatio Nelson commanded in the Napoleonic Wars. This pioneering spirit led Vanguard to create its First Index Investment Trust in 1976 (the First Index is now known as the Vanguard 500 Index Fund). It was the first indexed mutual fund to be made available to individual investors, and in 1977 Vanguard stopped relying on outside brokers completely and began marketing directly to investors.
The fearless founder
Vanguard’s existence has much to thank John Bogle for. Bogle established the mutual fund organization in 1974, working as chairman and CEO until 1996. In addition to his work with Vanguard, Bogle has worked on the Independence Standards Board and has served as chairman of the Board of the National Constitution Center since 1999 (a position he serves alongside former President George H.W. Bush). Over the years, Bogle and his work has been lauded by various publications, he has been praised as one of the world’s 100 most powerful and influential people by Time magazine and as a “giant of the 20th century” by Fortune. Institutional Investor magazine has also given Bogle a Lifetime Achievement Award and he has also garnered the Woodrow Wilson Award from Princeton University.
100 Vanguard Boulevard
Malvern, PA 19355
Phone: (610) 669-1000
Employer Type: Private
Chairman and CEO: John J. Brennan
2007 Employees (All Locations): 12,000
Valley Forge, PA