Changes at Vanguard’s Health Care Fund as Owens Retires

Vanguard announced this morning that Vanguard Health Care (MUTF:VGHCX) manager and Wellington Management partner Ed Owens will retire at year-end after a long and stellar career managing Health Care since its 1984 inception. For the many, many shareholders who own Health Care is this a signal to bail?


In fact, under co-manager Jean Hynes, who’ll take over the fund when Owens leaves, performance and risk management should remain steady. Whether she can goose Health Care to compete with the much smaller and more nimble Hartford Healthcare, run by the same Wellington team that supports Owens remains to be seen. I wouldn’t expect a $22 billion fund to be as easy to manage as the $420 million Hartford fund, but Hynes is certainly up to the task.

Health care remains a broad sector that I believe all investors should overweight in their portfolios. Long-term, the sector has well outperformed the S&P 500 index, and Wellington’s two managed funds have outperformed the health care sector as a whole. No ETF or health index fund can touch the managed funds run by Owens, Hynes and their team.

I’m sorry to see Ed go as we’ve had many insightful conversations over the years. But Jean Hynes is a stellar replacement, stepping ably into some very, very big shoes.

Stick with Vanguard Health Care but, if you can, buy the Hartford fund for the best performance out of the Wellington team.

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