In recent weeks, there have been many tributes to John Bogle, the founder of the Vanguard Group and the pioneer of index funds, who died last month at the age of 89.

I’d like to add my voice to those who have expressed their gratitude to Bogle for all he did for average investors with his clear vision of what’s important in the investment world and where the dangers lie.

For us at PWL, it’s no exaggeration to say the vision and work of the man they call “Saint Jack” deeply influenced our portfolio management philosophy and how we advise clients.

Larry Swedroe, one of our favourite authors, summed it up in his farewell: “Jack’s career was dedicated to one thing: Doing the right thing for investors by acting as a fiduciary.”

He was a tireless champion for small investors, advocating the use of index funds to reduce risk by widely diversifying portfolios while keeping costs as low as possible.

That was a revolutionary and controversial idea back in 1974, the year Bogle launched Vanguard. Back then, the investing landscape was dominated by costly actively managed mutual funds and brokers selling individual securities to clients—and charging them high commissions for the privilege.

Bogle preached the basic truth that most active investors fail to beat the market. He knew it’s far better to reap market returns with low-cost passive investments, diversify broadly across asset classes and geography, rebalance periodically and hold on for the long-term. That’s the scientifically proven route to building wealth.

Over the last couple of decades, millions of investors have come around to the wisdom of Bogle’s teachings. For proof, look no further than Vanguard, which has over US$5 trillion in assets under management.

We founded PWL in 1996 on the same principles Bogle espoused, including a steadfast commitment to fiduciary excellence in our client relationships.

The investing success of millions of ordinary investors over the years is testament to the soundness of Bogle’s ideas in a financial world where people too often fall victim to deception, greed and ignorance.

We offer our thanks to this kind, humble man for his work and his legacy.