Warren Buffett: Jack Bogle converted people to religion of investing

Jack Bogle, the founder of Vanguard Group, died Wednesday. He was 89. Bogle, a financial luminary, paved the way for low-cost investing when he launched the first index mutual fund four decades ago.

Warren Buffett, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, who is also seen as a fellow investment visionary, said in a statement following Bogle’s death that he was a uniquely revolutionary figure in finance.

“He converted, in a 30-year period, a lot of people to the right religion of investing,” Buffett told CNBC’s Becky Quick. “And it’s a good religion. It pays off.”

He added: “Jack did more for American investors as a whole than any individual I’ve known. A lot of Wall Street is devoted to charging a lot for nothing. He charged nothing to accomplish a huge amount.”

Bogle — whose ideas of low-cost investing for individual investors were widely derided at the time — wrote in a book about his life published late last year that he nearly failed out of Princeton University and was fired from his first firm, Wellington Management Company. He then went on to found Vanguard, which today employs 40,000 people and manages more than $5 trillion in global assets.

“My goal was ultimately to build a broad-based firm, and I took on my new leadership role the same way I had left my previous leadership role: ‘Fired with enthusiasm,'” Bogle wrote.

In Buffett’s annual letter to shareholders two years ago, he praised Bogle’s contributions to investing for the masses. Specifically, Buffett has admired Bogle’s approach to low-cost, sensible investing.

“For decades, Jack has urged investors to invest in ultra-low-cost index funds,” Buffett said.

“In his crusade, he amassed only a tiny percentage of the wealth that has typically flowed to managers who have promised their investors large rewards while delivering them nothing — or, as in our bet, less than nothing — of added value.”

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