Ethical investors set their sights on index funds

The revolutionary vanguard

VANGUARD, an American fund-management giant, promises “the highest standards of ethical behaviour”. Its low fees, helpful call centres and lack of scandal give the claim credence. It is by far the largest mutual-fund group, with $4.8trn under management. It receives more than half of all the new money going into American mutual funds. Most ends up in its passively managed offerings that track indices.

So you might think its shareholder meetings would be pious celebrations. Instead, Vanguard tries to avoid them. On November 15th it held its first since 2009, to satisfy a legal requirement that two-thirds of fund directors are elected rather than appointed. It held the meeting near its Arizona satellite office, far from its Philadelphia-area headquarters. Only 200 of its 20m clients showed up, trudging through metal detectors and tight security.

Vanguard may have been pleased by the small turnout. Among those dogged 200 who attended were representatives of an...

via The Economist: Finance and economics Business Feeds

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