Indexing at Vanguard

Build diversified portfolios at a low cost


Our global index offering is built on an uncompromising commitment to quality. Watch our video to learn more about indexing at Vanguard.

Quality not commodity

At Vanguard, we're committed to remaining at the forefront of indexing. Our unmatched experience over 45 years means that when you select a Vanguard index fund or ETF, you know exactly what you're going to get: low-cost, high-value, transparent access to a broad market exposure.

Our 50 million clients worldwide trust us with their investments, and rely on our ability to deliver long-term value. We believe that it is our unerring commitment to quality—not commodity—that will help us give our index investors the best chance of investment success.

We’ve built a sustainable, scaled and successful global index offering that is built on an uncompromising commitment to quality. We recognise that although it’s important, quality isn’t just about cost, it’s about long-term value. We offer:

Depth and breadth

Over $6tn assets under management in 158 equity, bond and balanced index funds globally, as at April 2021.1

Consistent long-term returns

82% of our European index mutual funds and ETFs have performed better than their peer-group averages over the last 10 years.2

An enviable cost advantage

The average expense ratio (Ongoing charge figure (OCF)) across our mutual funds and ETFs in Europe is 53% less than the industry average.3

45+ years of expertise

We launched the first index fund for individual investors in 19761, and we've been perfecting our benchmark selection and tracking skills every day since.

1Source: Vanguard. Data as at 30 April, 2021.

2Source: Lipper, a Thomson Reuters Company. For the 10-year period ended 30 June 2021, 26 of 34 Vanguard bond index funds, 16 of 17 Vanguard balanced index funds, and 85 of 103 Vanguard stock index funds – for a total of 127 of 154 Vanguard index funds – outperformed their Lipper peer-group averages. Results will vary for other time periods. Only index mutual funds and ETFs with a minimum 10-year history were included in the comparison. The competitive performance data shown represent past performance, which is not a guarantee of future results.

3Source: Vanguard and Morningstar. Data as at 30 April 2021. Vanguard average expense ratio: 0.14%. Industry average expense ratio: 0.30%. All averages are for index mutual funds and ETFs and are asset-weighted. Industry average excludes Vanguard.

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How our commitment to quality adds long-term value over and above low costs

Whilst many believe index fund management is straightforward, in reality it's a complex undertaking, reliant on experience, deep expertise and technological sophistication. We add value in a number of ways:

  • A focused range

    We aim to provide low-cost, diversified core equity and fixed income building blocks to meet the needs of most long-term investors across developed & emerging markets.

  • Considered benchmarks

    We work with some of the world’s most respected index providers in an effort to create diversified, transparent exposure that investors can rely on.

  • Uncomplicated tracking

    We believe that funds should be uncomplicated, transparent, liquid and low risk. That is why we only use physical replication for our ETFs and index funds.

  • Efficient management

    Our portfolio management and trading functions are fully integrated so that we can better manage index changes, which can improve replication and lower trading costs.

  • Robust risk control

    All Vanguard’s index funds & ETFs worldwide use the same daily, disciplined and tightly risk-controlled approach to ensure investor peace of mind.

  • Investment stewardship

    We are committed to excellence in investment stewardship. We engage with the management teams of portfolio companies in our index funds to better understand how they are addressing ESG risks.

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Beyond expense ratios

The true value of indexing

Investors know that keeping costs low is a key component of investment success, and this is one of Vanguard’s core principles. But index funds are not a commodity. Evaluating products solely on their price can leave investors exposed to much greater costs. Across this four-part series, we aim to help investors understand why, when it comes to ETFs and index funds, true value for investors is driven by scale, exposure, management and stewardship, and not just the price tag.

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Important risk information:

The value of investments, and the income from them, may fall or rise and investors may get back less than they invested.

Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.

For further information on risks please see the “Risk Factors” section of the prospectus on our website.