Vanguard Group founder John Bogle has repeatedly expressed concerns that the ability to trade ETFs may cause investors to hurt themselves and lose their focus on the long term.
However, the firm he founded has launched its own ETFs. Now Vanguard says that it doesn’t see any difference between the market-timing abilities of investors in its ETFs and traditional mutual funds.
“In recent years it has been claimed that dollar-weighted returns in ETFs fare even worse than those in conventional mutual funds, owing to the intraday trading flexibility of ETFs,” Vanguard said in a recent paper.
Yet the investment manager says such claims on their own are “problematic.” [Why Vanguard Founder Bogle Doesn’t Like ETFs]
Looking at five years of data, Vanguard found that the dollar-weighted returns of ETFs have not consistently trailed the dollar-weighted returns of the equivalent mutual fund. Vanguard ETFs are structured as separate share classes of its existing index funds.
In other words, the trading flexibility of ETFs alone does not appear to be detrimental to investors’ performance. The structure of a fund whether a traditional mutual fund or an ETF “does not seem to influence the results,” Vanguard said.