Vanguard’s Head of Equity Investment Unit Bhagat Departs

Vanguard Group Inc., the biggest U.S. mutual-fund firm, said Sandip A. Bhagat, head of the Equity Investment Group, left the firm to pursue other opportunities.

Bhagat’s team oversaw $926 billion in equity index funds and quantitative strategies, spokesman John Woerth said in a telephone interview. Unlike actively managed funds, which require day-to-day decisions on buying and selling securities, index funds track benchmarks such as the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and quantitative strategies follow pre-set mathematical models.

“This is not a big deal for Vanguard,” Daniel Wiener, editor of the New York-based newsletter Independent Adviser for Vanguard Investors, said today in a telephone interview.

Bhagat’s departure was announced today in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which also said Mortimer J. Buckley has assumed the role of chief investment officer. Buckley, known as Tim, joined Vanguard in 1991 as assistant to founder John Bogle and replaces George Sauter, who announced in June that he would would retire at the end of the year.

Bhagat, who joined Vanguard four years ago, previously worked at the investment units of Morgan Stanley and Citigroup Inc. His replacement has not been announced, according to Woerth.

Vanguard, based in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, manages $2 trillion in U.S. mutual funds and exchange-traded funds. The company attracted $141 billion in deposits last year, the most in its 39-year history, Woerth said.

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