Vanguard Chooses an Outsider as Its New CEO

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Former BlackRock executive Salim Ramji will succeed Tim Buckley as Vanguard’s fifth chief executive officer on July 8, 2024. He will be the first CEO who did not rise through the fund family’s leadership ranks.

Ramji left BlackRock in January as its global head of iShares and index investing, and his appointment represents a departure from Vanguard’s historical norm. The firm’s prior CEOs came from its internal executive ranks, making Ramji the first external candidate to take the reins.

Ramji will inherit a firm that is by no means struggling to garner assets. Vanguard managed more than USD 8.4 trillion from roughly 50 million clients globally at the end of March 2024. It led all asset-management firms with more than USD 110 billion of inflows in 2023, second only to BlackRock.

He will face other challenges once he settles in. Vanguard hasn’t been immune to investors abandoning actively managed mutual funds for low-cost exchange-traded funds. Customer complaints remain a sore spot, and Vanguard recently received some backlash for raising fees on some of its brokerage services. It has struggled to expand into new markets outside of the US. Efforts to expand in markets like Germany and China were abandoned after only a few years.

Vanguard has invested heavily in its advice business and ETF lineup over the past several years. Ramji accumulated a lot of experience in both areas at BlackRock, but it remains to be seen what his appointment means for Vanguard’s culture and direction.


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