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Rekenthaler Report

Vanguard Won the Loser's Game

How an outsider conquered the fund industry.

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Reaching the Top
That Vanguard might eventually become the largest fund company is not startling. Thirty years ago, when Vanguard wasn't among the 10 largest mutual fund sponsors, it had nonetheless established the industry's strongest brand. Competitors advertised their mascots--lions here, bulls there. Vanguard didn't bother with such fluff. Instead, it painstakingly differentiated its contents.

Eventually, investors noticed. The first of this article's three charts compares Vanguard's annual net sales (including exchange-traded funds, but excluding funds-of-funds so as not to double-count transactions) against those of all its rivals combined.

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