From the Financial Times's global finance correspondent, the incredible true story of the iconoclastic geeks who defied conventional wisdom and endured Wall Street's scorn to launch the index fund revolution, democratizing investing and saving hundreds of billions of dollars in fees that would have otherwise lined fat cats' pockets.
Fifty years ago, the Manhattan Project of money management was quietly assembled in the financial industry's backwaters, unified by the heretical idea that even many of the world's finest investors couldn't beat the market in the long run.
The motley crew of nerds—including economist wunderkind Gene Fama, humiliated industry executive Jack Bogle, bull-headed and computer-obsessive John McQuown, and avuncular former WWII submariner Nate Most—succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. Passive investing now accounts for more than $20 trillion, equal to the entire gross domestic product of the US, and is today a force reshaping markets, finance and even capitalism itself in myriad subtle but pivotal ways.
Yet even some fans of index funds and ETFs are growing perturbed that their swelling heft is destabilizing markets, wrecking the investment industry and leading to an unwelcome concentration of power in fewer and fewer hands.
In Trillions, Financial Times journalist Robin Wigglesworth unveils the vivid secret history of an invention Wall Street wishes was never created, bringing to life the characters behind its birth, growth, and evolution into a world-conquering phenomenon. This engrossing narrative is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand modern finance—and one of the most pressing financial uncertainties of our time.
From Brilliance to Billions
Wigglesworth weaves a compelling story about the evolution of modern mutual fund investing and the ascendancy of passive (index-based) products. He explains that, although initially propelled by the brilliance of academics the index industry has morphed into a multi-trillion dollar business controlled by a few financial behemoths. Both a powerful fiscal history lesson, Trillions also makes a powerful case for most shunning active investment management. Great read.