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Fund Spy

Indexing Fans Have a Lot to Thank Vanguard for This Year

The firm has continued to improve its passive lineup.

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Vanguard has been the leader in the field of index funds for decades. It launched  Vanguard 500 Index (VFINX), which has $102 billion in assets and is the third-largest stock fund in the United States, back in 1976. It opened  Vanguard Total Stock Market Index (VTSMX), which has $162 billion in assets and is the largest equity offering in the U.S., nearly 20 years ago. And it has dozens of other index funds that span the asset-class, geographic, and style spectrums as well as lots of funds of funds that hold mixes of its passive offerings.

Meanwhile, Vanguard has done an excellent job of driving down costs, choosing appropriate benchmarks, and replicating the performance of those benchmarks across its index lineup. (The firm has considerable success using various techniques--such as sampling, employing futures contracts, and lending securities--to track benchmarks efficiently and effectively.) The firm's passive roster is packed with topnotch offerings. We have evaluated a good number of its index offerings and passive funds of funds thus far using the new Morningstar Analyst Rating, in fact, and these funds have received impressive ratings overall

William Samuel Rocco does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.