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Index Fund Takeover Makes ‘Big Three’ Into Corporate Overlords (1)

Jan. 9, 2020, 6:40 PM

If you hold a stock market index fund, congratulations. The S&P 500’s total return was a thumping 31.5% in 2019, and a fund that passively tracks that benchmark delivered almost all those gains, minus a tiny fee—perhaps just 0.04% of assets. Now here’s something you probably weren’t thinking about when you clicked on the box to choose an index fund in your 401(k) or IRA: You were also part of one of the biggest shifts in corporate power in a generation.

The index fund is one of a handful of unambiguously beneficial financial innovations. Before it caught on, investors routinely...

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