Robin Wigglesworth: The Story of Index Funds (EP.184)

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By Benjamin Felix & Cameron Passmore, Benjamin Felix, and Cameron Passmore. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Episode 184: Robin Wigglesworth: Unpacking and Understanding Trillions

Episode 184: Show Notes.

We have often spoken about the book Trillions on the show, and in today's episode, we are lucky enough to interview the author, Robin Wigglesworth. We get to speak to Robin about his book and some of its central and most interesting ideas, while touching on other subjects too. Listeners will definitely come away with some enriched perspective, and hearing Robin's thoughtful and articulate answers was an absolute pleasure for us. Our guest is also the Global Financial Correspondent for the Financial Times, with his contributions to the publication being well worth keeping up with. After distilling some of the history of index investing, Mac McQuown, Jack Bogle, and the building blocks of what we do here at the Rational Reminder, Robin is generous enough to also comment on crypto, tech disruption, private equity, ESG investing, and more. This episode ties in so well with previous conversations we have had and Robin's dedication to his craft as a financial writer is truly inspiring, join us to hear it all.

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Simple reasons for why index funds are the best option for investors. [0:02:40.1]
  • Tracing the roots of the culture of stock picking. [0:05:52.7]
  • The initial intellectual push that the idea of index fund received from Wells Fargo. [0:10:44.4]
  • Touching on some of the important yet lesser-known characters in the history. [0:15:05.8]
  • Robin unpacks the evolution that Jack Bogle went through in the 1960s. [0:17:40.1]
  • Jack Bogle's real superpower and getting to grips with the essence of his philosophy. [0:22:33.4]
  • The important relationship between Dimension and Vanguard. [0:25:42.7]
  • Differentiating between factor investing and total mark indexing. [0:29:24.5]
  • Robin's thoughts on where we are currently with an imaginary alpha. [0:32:46.3]
  • Reasons for Jack Bogle's decision to avoid embracing ETFs early on. [0:35:28.7]
  • Why Robin stands by the idea that markets are not efficient. [0:37:31.8]
  • The impact of bond ETFs on the future of the market. [0:42:48.1]
  • Concerns around proxy votes at bigger asset managers. [0:48:34.4]
  • Some thoughts from Robin about ESG investing and its value. [0:52:17.7]
  • The skepticism that Robin still holds about cryptocurrency and its disruptive characteristics. [0:57:45.2]
  • The example of Albania that Robin has used in his book to illustrate a point about crypto. [1:02:47.6]
  • Looking at the trend towards private equity in the financial world. [1:09:23.4]
  • Robin's own definition of success: the feeling of doing a good job. [1:17:46.6]

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