Jack Bogle Shares Thoughts on Professional and Business Values—Part 4

An essay by Vanguard founder Jack Bogle, published in a recent issue of the CFA Institute’s Financial Analysts Journal, offers insights and guidance concerning the need for balance between professional values and business values in the world of investing and finance. This is the fourth installment of a five-part series outlining highlights of the essay.

Bogle outlines “characteristics and attitudes” that he has championed and nurtured over his 65-year career to maintain balance between his business and professional approach to investing:

  • Develop competence: Bogle highlights the importance of education as well as the need to be “an aware citizen of the world” and up-do-date on economic, domestic, international and political issues.
  • Cultivate a sense of history: Read and learn from other’s mistakes. Bogle argues that the study of history’s booms, busts and financial frauds has “become a rarity in our colleges and business schools.” He adds, “Never forget the importance of introspection—the ability to look deeply into yourself, into the past, into the firm that you serve, and into the needs of your clients.”
  • Be skeptical: Bogle warns “never to look at a number and accept it at face value,” advising instead to dig into the numbers and supporting data.
  • Be a true professional: It is essential, writes Bogle, to uphold standards of professional conduct as dictated by the CFA Institute Code of Ethics, to know the securities laws, understand the risk profiles and return objectives of clients, fully disclose all fees and costs, and “exercise loyalty, prudence and care, and ensure that your clients’ interests come first.”