Best Vanguard Funds: Vanguard Wellington (VWELX)
Some products stand the test of time — Vanguard Wellington (VWELX) is one of the best examples of a portfolio that can endure.
VWELX isn’t just one of the best Vanguard funds out there — it’s also the nation’s oldest balanced fund, in existence since 1929. This portfolio skillfully mixes solid large-cap value stocks with intermediate-term investment-grade bonds in a package that has delivered fine results over time. This fund is up an annualized 7.7% over the past decade, good enough to rank in the top 5% of its Morningstar peer group.
All this performance has swelled assets to $80.3 billion — and as a result, Vanguard has restricted new account access to those that invest directly via Vanguard rather than through an intermediary such as a discount brokerage.
The fund’s current allocation is 64% stocks with 33% of the portfolio in bonds. Managers Ed Bousa and John Keough continue to favor quality stocks with strong balance sheets. Currently, 21% of the fund’s equity holdings are financial stocks, with 17% in healthcare names. Recent top holdings in the stock portion of the portfolio consisted of Wells Fargo, Merck (MRK), Microsoft, JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Exxon Mobil. Average maturity for the bond portion of the fund stands at 8.4 years. All told, VWELX yields 2.4%.
Annual expenses run 0.25%, or $25 for every $10,000 invested. Investors with $50,000 to invest can access the Admiral shares of the fund (VWENX) and see expenses drop to 0.17% annually. Interestingly, the bulk of fund assets are in the Admiral share class.
Bill Wysor is the editor of The Relevant Investor. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.