Along with BlackRock and State Street, Vanguard is considered one of the “Big Three” index fund managers that dominate corporate America, and ultimately the world. “If historical trends continue, a handful of giant institutional investors will one day hold voting control of virtually every large U.S. corporation,” said Jack Bogle in November 2018.
Bogle, the founder of Vanguard, wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal shortly before his death in January 2019 in which he warned: “Most observers expect that the share of corporate ownership by index funds will continue to grow over the next decade.
It seems only a matter of time until index mutual funds cross the 50% mark. If that were to happen, the “Big Three” might own 30% or more of the U.S. stock market—effective control. I do not believe that such concentration would serve the national interest.”
By November 2020, the “Big Three” managed US$15 trillion in combined assets, equivalent to more than three-quarters the size of the US economy and combined, they were the largest owner in 88% of the S&P 500 companies. By January 2021, the “Big Three” had almost US$18 trillion in assets under management. Being the largest owner of a publicly traded company doesn’t mean that you can do whatever you want, but it does give you enormous power.
What are index funds?
There are companies that monitor and analyse a specific group or class of companies on a stock market called an index, for example FTSE 100. Companies such as Vanguard simply offer you the ability to invest in this index through them. Because most of the “homework” has already been done by the brokerage companies index funds are low in fees, great for long-term investing and, because there isn’t a lot of trading going on within that fund, saves a lot of money on taxes.
The longer your investment the more wealth you build. There is a reason why Warren Buffet wrote in his will for 90% of his money to be put in a low-cost S&P 500 Index Fund (preferably Vanguard).
Index funds, as good as they are for investors, may be also indirectly harming consumers and workers. “When you see a small handful of players with ever-growing share and ever-growing clout affecting the trajectory of the largest public companies in the world, that’s going to raise a lot of eyebrows,” said Ben Johnson, a Morningstar Inc. analyst. “The question is whether their influence will be wielded for better or worse.”
The Big Three’s Stake in Corporate America
The Hidden Dangers of the Great Index Fund Takeover, Bloomberg Businessweek, 9 Jan 2020
Who Runs the World?
These institutional investors are mainly investment firms, banks and insurance companies. In turn, they, themselves are owned by shareholders and, surprisingly, they own each other’s stocks
Together, they form an immense network comparable to a pyramid. The smaller investors are owned by larger investors. Those are owned by even bigger investors. The “visible” top of this pyramid shows only two companies: Vanguard and BlackRock.
The power of these two companies is beyond your imagination. Not only do they own a large part of the stocks of nearly all big companies but also the stocks of the investors in those companies. This gives them a complete monopoly.
Who Runs the World? Blackrock and Vanguard
If the video above is removed from YouTube you can find it HERE.
With $20 trillion between them, Blackrock and Vanguard could own almost everything by 2028. And the biggest of all could be – as it is also Blackrock’s biggest shareholder – Vanguard.
The Vanguard Group
A search for “Vanguard” on Dun & Bradstreet’s website returns 8,337 companies in approximately 102 countries. The three locations with the highest number of Vanguard companies being: 4,532 in the United States, 577 in China; and, 449 in the United Kingdom.
As you go through the list of companies in which Vanguard and BlackRock strategically hold a large investment interest, consider how the products and services provided by these companies are inextricably intertwined with your daily life. You can do your own search on Yahoo! Finance, typing in the company and clicking “holdings” in the navigation bar. For interests sake here are some examples: Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Amazon, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Bayer Pharmaceuticals, Microsoft, Apple, and Reuters.
Vanguard is a privately held company. The company is owned by its funds. Those funds, in turn, are owned by their investors. So it follows that the fund investors are Vanguard’s shareholders.
By following the menu option for “Personal Investors” on its website, Vanguard boasts it “is made up of more than 30 million investors.” Included in this number are in the region of 60,000 “flagship clients” who need to have $1 million or more invested in Vanguard funds.
In 2017, Vanguard – which had previously closed it’s “walk-in offices” in Malvern, Philadelphia – set up formal spaces where flagship investors could make appointments with staff. The offices include space at a building called Zealous. Vanguard and its key buildings such as Zealous were named, by Bogle, after Lord Nelson’s warships, which defeated Napoleon’s fleet in the late 1700s.
According to Dun & Bradstreet Vanguard’s ultimate parent is Zealous, Inc. Zealous has 49 subsidiaries and 25 branches. Its registered address is in Delaware, has 2 employees and generates US$10.74 million in sales. Due to our location, we are not able to access further details on the Dun & Bradstreet site to investigate if there is information publicly available or “visible” regarding Zealous’ related companies or shareholding. On another site however there is a clue, Zealous, Inc. headquarters address is shown as “C/o The Vanguard Group, Inc.”
Although we are unable to determine the proportion of Vanguard’s stock which is held by Zealous overall, it owns more than 75% of Vanguard Investments Hong Kong and Vanguard Investments Canada, for example.
As a building for Vanguard’s flagship clients and its ultimate parent company share the same name – Zealous – and considering they state that the fund investors are Vanguard’s shareholders, we could guess that the shareholders of Zealous, Inc. are Vanguard’s 60,000 flagship clients. And, we could extend this further to the ultimate ownership of Vanguard.
If the 75% or more ownership of Vanguard Investments in Hong Kong and Canada is replicated throughout Zealous’ 49 subsidiaries, assuming they include all of Vanguard Group companies, Vanguard’s 60,000 flagship clients own 75% or more of everything Vanguard owns.
Warren Buffet, who we mentioned earlier wrote in his will that 90% of his money be put into index funds (preferably Vanguard), is an example of how this may work. We can safely assume Buffet is one of Vanguard’s flagship clients and therefore, based on our assumptions above, a shareholder of Zealous. It’s also worth noting that Buffet is also a trustee of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and “through 2021, Buffet’s contributions to the Gates Foundation total $32.7 billion.”
There is overwhelming information about the Gates Foundation’s ties to the Covid “pandemic.” So much so an internet search will show the links are difficult to avoid. Below are just some of the articles we’ve previously published on the subject:
You can find more of our articles on Bill Gates HERE.
Vanguard’s ties to the pharmaceutical industry have been mentioned in a preceding paragraph. And it’s the drug companies that are driving the Covid-19 responses with mainstream media as willing accomplices in spreading their propaganda, a false official narrative that leads the public astray and fosters fear based on lies. The Defender answers their own question in an article titled: Who owns Big Pharma and Big Media? If you guessed Blackrock and Vanguard without even reading this article, then you guessed right.
The world’s media, online news media has become increasingly consolidated over the past several decades. In an analysis of 30 countries, researchers found that, on average, the top four media companies in each country hold 40% of that country’s media content market. It would be interesting to see how many countries’ media is ultimately controlled by which corporations. We briefly look at two countries, the UK and the USA, below.
Vanguard and BlackRock are the top two owners of Time Warner, Comcast, Disney and News Corp, four of the six media companies that control more than 90% of the U.S. media landscape.
A similar trend of consolidation of control of the news is seen in the UK. A new report, published in March 2021, showed that just three companies (News UK, Daily Mail Group and Reach) dominate 90% of the UK national newspaper market. And, for example, News UK is a wholly owned subsidiary of American mass media conglomerate News Corp.
From Wikipedia’s page “Television in the United Kingdom”: ITV is owned by ITV plc, of which 2 of the top 5 shareholders are Vanguard companies. Sky is owned by Comcast. Comcast’s top shareholders, as we have already mentioned, are Vanguard and Blackrock. Channel 5 is owned by ViacomCBS, whose top shareholders are Vanguard and Blackrock.
Note: Channel 4 is a state-owned national broadcaster and UKTV is wholly owned by the BBC. The BBC, established under royal charter, is a public corporation of the UK government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport. It does not have shareholders. However, it’s interesting to note that one of BBC Media Action’s significant donors is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. And it’s important to note that the BBC leads the “Trusted News Initiative” which censors public health experts who oppose the official narrative on Covid-19.
Vanguard in the UK
In the UK there is a company incorporated in 2012, The Vanguard Group of Companies Ltd UK, of which Anthony Hill is one of two directors and owns 75% or more of the shares. He is also a director of 5 other Vanguard Group companies in the UK.
In its latest filing the company states: “the company has taken advantage of exemption … not to disclose related party transactions with wholly owned subsidiaries within the group.” And from it is from here that things become curious. On Regulatory News reports are completed as: The Vanguard Group, Inc.: William Hill plc. William Hill plc is a global online gambling company, with headquarters in London, Leeds and Gibraltar and Hill’s “connections” to other companies in his professional capacity make interesting reading.
One such “connection” being Worldwide Healthcare Trust Plc which invests in a diversified portfolio of shares in pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and related securities in the healthcare sector. Unsurprisingly, the net sales of the Trust dramatically increased from £115m for March 2020 to £537 million for the twelve months to March 2021. And, one of the Trust’s top 10 shareholders is Vanguard Global Advisors LLC.
The Vanguard Group does indeed seem to be at the top, inextricably intertwined with daily life: in the media, in healthcare and even in gambling.