Financial History 140 Winter 2022 | Page 11


Museum Receives Donation of Early Index Fund Documents

The Museum recently hosted an event with Financial Times reporter and author Robin Wigglesworth on his book , Trillions : How a Band of Renegades Invented the Index Fund and Changed Finance Forever . In the book , Vanguard founder Jack Bogle is quoted , calling index funds “ the greatest invention in the history of finance .”
A recent donation to the Museum ’ s collection from Arthur Lipper reflects an interesting piece of new information regarding the history of index funds . Lipper filed red herrings with the SEC in 1969 and 1972 for his conception of the “ Industrial Stock Average Fund ” based on the Dow Jones Industrial Average . All of the core concepts of indexing are there as , according to the prospectus , the fund would “ continuously purchase approximately equal numbers of shares of the Component Stocks in substantially the same relative proportions as their prices of the Component Stocks bear to the Average .”
While Lipper filed his fund , it never came to fruition . Wigglesworth explained that there were many attempts and various iterations in the late 1960s and early 1970s to create something akin to an index fund without expressly calling it that . They included the short-lived Wells Fargo Stagecoach Fund and the $ 6 million Samsonite account that tracked the entire NYSE in 1971 . While Lipper ’ s fund didn ’ t take off , he did codify it with his filings , and we are thrilled to add this piece of index history to our collection .
www . MoAF . org | Winter 2022 | FINANCIAL HISTORY 9