John C. Bogle, founder of Vanguard Funds (a mutual fund investor) recently sat down with Money magazine for a wide-ranging interview. He had a lot to say, and what truly stood out for me:
The job of finance is to provide capital to companies. We do it to the tune of $250 billion a year in IPOs and secondary offerings. What else do we do? We encourage investors to trade about $32 trillion a year. So the way I calculate it, 99% of what we do in this industry is people trading with one another, with a gain only to the middleman. It’s a waste of resources.
He is so on the money as this quote pretty much sums up the public financial markets and why there needs to be some structural and seismic change that moves us away from this kind of waste.Bogle set up the company in such a manner that the funds run by the company, own the company. And the funds are owned by fund’s investors. So in a sense, the company is owned by its customers. That is a pretty unique setup. If you are interested in mutual funds, Wall Street and your investments, then this is an interview worth your time.
Update: In this chart, Fortune’s Dan Primack points that out that venture investments outperformed the public markets: