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Bogle remains unimpressed with strategic beta

The Vanguard founder says his long-time strategy of sticking to index funds is still the best bet.


Christine Benz: Hi, I'm Christine Benz for Morningstar. Strategic beta products have proliferated in the marketplace. As part of the annual Bogleheads conference, I sat down with Vanguard founder Jack Bogle to get his take on these products.

I'm guessing that you are still feeling that these products generally don't deserve a role in investors' portfolios.

Jack Bogle: They're giving you a false promise. Value is going to do well some of the time. Look at the resurgence of the growth this year. Our growth fund index is up 21 per cent this year and our value fund index may be 8, something like that. Complete reversal of what it was last year. These things have happened since the beginning of markets. It's called reversion to the mean. I have my little debates with Cliff Asness on this. He thinks value is pretty much eternal, and I don't. We remain very, very good friends. We can talk about these things rationally, and I would consider him one of the giants of the alternative asset industry, not the hedge fund industry because none of them are hedge funds or most of them are not hedge funds.

The market is going to do its rotation. Stocks are going to get overvalued. Stocks are going to get undervalued, and when somebody figures out that they're undervalued and buys them, it's a great opportunity. But don't forget he bought them from somebody who sold them. There's no way to beat the market overall. There just isn't because we're all trading with one another.

These things, I've been saying them for a long time, I think I was saying the day I got born in 1929, probably a little garbled. I just don't think in the fundamental rule of the markets is an absolute rule. The less you trade the more you make; and the less you pay, the more you make. You put those two things together, and the answer miraculously appears up in the sky in red lights: index funds.



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