Vanguard Hiring Experienced Leader | ETF Trends

Big news in asset management: Vanguard has hired a former leader of its industry peer BlackRock. This is the latest sign of the ETF community remaining tight-knit. Indeed, many current heads of ETF businesses have worked at BlackRock or Vanguard. 

Vanguard announced that its board of directors has appointed Salim Ramji as the company’s new CEO and a member of the board, effective July 8, 2024. He succeeds Tim Buckley, who was previously planning to retire as chairman and CEO. The two worked together on the executive committee of the Investment Company Institute. 

The asset manager has historically looked within the firm for its leaders. Indeed, Buckley spent 33 years at Vanguard, starting as firm founder’s Jack Bogle’s research assistant. He became CEO in 2018. Since then, the company has gained market share in the growing ETF industry. In the last five years, Vanguard has gathered more than $1 trillion in ETF assets, according to VettaFi data. The firm manages $2.6 trillion across its 86 ETF products.  

New CEO Is Experienced Leader 

Ramji has more than 25 years of experience in investments, capital markets, and wealth management. That includes a decade as a senior leader at BlackRock. When he left in January 2024, he posted on LinkedIn: “I decided that what I wanted to do next was to seek a new leadership or entrepreneurial opportunity outside the firm.”  

Most recently, Ramji was global head of iShares & Index Investing, where he was responsible for managing a majority of the firm’s client assets and evolving the iShares platform to provide an even broader set of innovative low-cost products for investors. 

ETF Product Development 

Along with State Street Global Advisors, iShares and Vanguard offer top index-based ETF products in many traditional style box equity and fixed income categories. However, Blackrock has expanded in recent years with thematic and cryptocurrency ETFs. In contrast, Vanguard’s more gradual recent product development has centered around actively managed fixed income ETFs. The Vanguard Core Bond ETF (VCRB) and the Vanguard Core-Plus Bond ETF (VPLS) began trading in December 2023.   

 

Why Ramji? 

Mark Loughridge, Vanguard’s lead independent director, said, “The Board welcomes Salim to the leadership team and looks forward to working closely with him as we strengthen and expand our mission and purpose, driven by serving the interests of individual investors. Vanguard’s distinctive structure and culture have helped tens of millions of our investor-owners plan for their future and families.”  

“We have significant opportunities for growth ahead, including how technology and the client experience can drive solutions and extend the benefits of wealth management to more investors. Salim is an exceptional leader who is aligned with Vanguard’s mission-driven culture, making him the ideal candidate. Vanguard has an important future, and we believe he is the best person for the job,” he added.

On his appointment, Ramji commented, “It’s an honor to join Vanguard, an institution I have long admired and respected. I am drawn to Vanguard because of the firm’s clarity and consistency of purpose and am very excited to get to work and partner with the outstanding leadership team to lead the company into the future.”  

“The current investor landscape is changing, and that presents opportunities for Vanguard to further its mission of giving people the best chance for investment success, which is more relevant today than at any time in the firm’s five-decade history. My focus will be to mobilize Vanguard to meet the moment while staying true to that core purpose — remaining the trusted firm that takes a stand for all investors,” he added.

Vanguard in Excellent Hands

VettaFi believes Vanguard will be in excellent hands with Ramji as part of the team. His expertise and success leveraging a firm’s broader capabilities should help the firm continue as an asset management leader. We do not expect radical changes to the company’s culture or product development. We are excited for the next chapter in Vanguard’s efforts to support the investment objectives of advisors and end investors. 

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