Vanguard Sort of Acknowledges Its Index Fund Is No. 1

A Web posting notes that the news media has pegged the fund as the biggest.
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With great reluctance,


is acknowledging it is home to the nation's largest mutual fund.

In a statement on its Web site, the firm notes that its flagship, the

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Vanguard 500 Index fund, has become the largest fund "according to the news media.''

Media outlets on Wednesday began reporting that the former No. 1,


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Magellan, was knocked off its perch due to losses from Tuesday's bloodletting. Magellan has been closed to new investors for more than two years, so it was only a matter of time that it would be overtaken.

The new No. 1 fund was originally reported on a newsletter Web site for Vanguard and Fidelity investors. The editors, Jim Lowell of

Fidelity Investor

, and Daniel P. Wiener of the

Independent Adviser for Vanguard Investors

, say their calculations show that as of market close Tuesday, the Vanguard index fund had $107.2 billion while Magellan stood at $106.9 billion.

A Vanguard spokesman says the firm still won't confirm it is the largest fund. But that didn't stop the fund family from muted boasting in cyberspace. "We are gratified that our shareholders have embraced indexing as an investment strategy,'' says Vanguard chairman John Brennan on its Web site.

Meanwhile, Fidelity isn't saying anything, and there's no mention of the issue on its site.

The only thing that Vanguard will say is that the index fund's assets stood at $107.4 billion as of March 31. "We've always maintained that assets aren't important,'' says John Demming, a spokesman.