NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Although it is notably newer to the ETF game compared to other fund leaders like Blackrock ( BLK) and State Street ( SST), Vanguard has enjoyed a dramatic ascension that has propelled it to No. 3 in total assets.According to the November fund flow data compiled by the National Stock Exchange, the Pennsylvania-based investment company boasts a combined nearly $175 billion in assets. As many have pointed out and discussed in the past, Vanguard's success in the ETF industry has largely rested on its ability to offer attractive ETF products at a steeply discounted cost. For example, although both the Vanguard Emerging Market ETF ( VWO) and iShares MSCI Emerging Market Index Fund ( EEM) are designed to mimic the performance of the same index, the former has taken the crown thanks to its dramatically reduced expense ratio. More recently, the spotlight has shifted to the ongoing showdown between the iShares Barclays Aggregate Bond Index Fund ( AGG) and the Vanguard Total Bond ETF ( BND).