FIRST POSTED: 21 May 2007
I met with Jack Bogle during my visit to Vanguard. We have a very interesting discussion.
I presented to Mr Bogle a copy of an article written in The New Paper by Dr Money. He identified his three business heroes to be Jack Bogle, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. I told Mr Bogle that he was listed as the first hero. He laughed.
Mr Bogle told me that he is now writing a speech to accept an honorary degree that is being conferred by a university. He will be talking about bond funds. Bonds now earn about 5% per annum, but a fund with a high expenses (comprising of sales charge, trading expenses and management fee) can take away as much as half of the yield, giving a net return of around 2% to 3%. He is furious about the poor return given to the end investors.
Mr Bogle told me that there is a requirement by Nasdaq that the terms of the traded product should be fair to the investors. He asked the questions (not his exact words), "Is it fair to give a product that takes away half of the yield? Where is the value to the investor? Does the professionals have a duty to give proper advice? "
I told Mr Bogle that a similar situation exists in Singapore, where structured products are being sold with high expense ratios (which are not disclosed). The end investors get a yield of 1% p.a. or lower after investing for 3 to 5 years.