John Bogle, founder of Vanguard, said Thursday that fiduciary duty comes down to "simple mathematics" and that even if Securities and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary Schapiro decides to leave her post at year-end and a fiduciary duty rule loses momentum, "We'll keep at it."

Speaking at the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors East conference in Baltimore, Bogle said that while Schapiro "loves the idea" of a fiduciary duty rule for brokers, she has been "so frustrated" with internal opposition to such a rule at the agency as well as in Congress.

Fiduciary duty, Bogle said, "comes down to a simple mathematical calculation: How the rewards of investing are divided between the providers of financial services and their clients who put up their capital. Why? Because for investors as a group, gross returns in the financial markets, minus the costs of financial service providers, equals the net returns that are actually delivered to investors."

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Melanie Waddell

Melanie is senior editor and Washington bureau chief of ThinkAdvisor. Her ThinkAdvisor coverage zeros in on how politics, policy, legislation and regulations affect the investment advisory space. Melanie’s coverage has been cited in various lawmakers’ reports, letters and bills, and in the Labor Department’s fiduciary rule in 2024. In 2019, Melanie received an Honorable Mention, Range of Work by a Single Author award from @Folio. Melanie joined Investment Advisor magazine as New York bureau chief in 2000. She has been a columnist since 2002. She started her career in Washington in 1994, covering financial issues at American Banker. Since 1997, Melanie has been covering investment-related issues, holding senior editorial positions at American Banker publications in both Washington and New York. Briefly, she was content chief for Internet Capital Group’s EFinancialWorld in New York and wrote freelance articles for Institutional Investor. Melanie holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Towson University. She interned at The Baltimore Sun and its suburban edition.