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Thursday, January 03, 2013

Where Did Bhagat Go?

Reported by Tommy Fernandez

It had been common knowledge for months that Vanguard’s chief investment officer Gus Sauter was retiring but who knew that the fund giant’s equity head, Sandip Bhagat, would also be leaving?

Daniel Weiner, editor of the Independent Adviser for Vanguard Investors, alerted MFWire to the development.

In an email, he noted that buried at the bottom of an SEC filing today was the following announcement:
Supplement to the Prospectus

Leadership Announcement

George U. Sauter has retired as Chief Investment Officer and Managing Director of Vanguard. Mortimer J. Buckley, Managing Director of Vanguard, has assumed the role of Chief Investment Officer. As Chief Investment Officer, Mr. Buckley is responsible for the oversight of Vanguard’s Equity Investment and Fixed Income Groups. The investments managed by these two groups include active quantitative equity funds, equity index funds, active bond funds, index bond funds, stable value portfolios, and money market funds. Mr. Buckley has also assumed Mr. Sauter’s responsibilities on the investment committee for Vanguard Managed Payout Funds. Mr. Buckley joined Vanguard in 1991 and has held various senior leadership positions with Vanguard. He received his A.B. in Economics from Harvard and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

Also, Sandip A. Bhagat has resigned as head of Vanguard’s Equity Investment Group.

Prospectus Text Changes

All references to George U. Sauter are replaced with Mortimer J. Buckley, and all references to Sandip A. Bhagat are removed.

Weiner noted that Bhagat had joined Vanguard just four years ago this month as head of Vanguard’s Quantitative Equity Group with “direct oversight responsibility for all active and passive equity portfolios and alternative strategies.” Bhagat was a former head of global asset allocation at Morgan Stanley Investment Management, Weiner added.

He had this to write about the development:
Whether Bhagat has actually left the building, or was simply demoted, remains to be seen but clearly, he didn’t have “favored son” status with incoming CIO Buckley. Not that it really matters, of course. Vanguard’s quant group didn’t need another boss and I suspect that Joel Dickson, who once ran the quant group, can easily step into a management role there if needed.

A Vanguard spokesperson had this comment:
Mr. Bhagat, principal and head of Vanguard's Equity Investment Group, has left Vanguard to pursue other opportunities. Vanguard has an experienced and stable investment management team in place and we expect that there will be no impact on the portfolio management of or index and active quantitative funds, nor to the strategies employed by the Equity Investment Group. The leadership of the Equity Investment Group is expected to be formally announced soon.

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