The Independent Adviser for Vanguard Investors

9 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2008

See all articles by Phillip E. Pfeifer

Phillip E. Pfeifer

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

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The director of marketing and operations for a financial newsletter must deal with a host of issues that surround the practice of renting mailing lists and soliciting new subscribers by direct mail. The case can be used to introduce the concept and calculation of customer lifetime value.



Rev. Apr. 12, 2013


Although Dan Silver's MBA education was backed by considerable experience in editing and publishing, he felt challenged by some of the details of his new job as director of marketing and operations for the Independent Adviser for Vanguard Investors (TIAVI), a financial newsletter. In particular, many of the complexities surrounding the renting of mailing lists and the direct-mail solicitation of additional customers were new to him. Currently there was growing pressure within his company to cut back on prospecting because several recent efforts had lost money. It was clearly his responsibility to respond to the pressure.

Newsletter Background

Dan Wiener, a former U.S. News & World Report associate editor, started the Vanguard Adviser in 1991. The newsletter's purpose was to give advice to investors in the Vanguard Group family of mutual funds and to make money doing so. In 1993, the Vanguard Group was the second-largest group of mutual funds, managing over $ 100 billion of assets in its more than 70 funds. Approximately 2.5 million individual investors had money invested in one or more Vanguard funds. For many of these investors, the advice of a Wall Street outsider like Wiener was seen as particularly valuable. Not only was Wiener not associated with Wall Street, he had no ties to the funds about which he gave advice. Because he had nothing to sell, Wiener's independent advice was seen by subscribers as more valid and trustworthy. In addition, mutual-fund companies such as the Vanguard Group were prohibited by law from giving advice on their own funds.

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Keywords: sampling

Suggested Citation

Pfeifer, Phillip E., The Independent Adviser for Vanguard Investors. Darden Case No. UVA-M-0451. Available at SSRN:

Phillip E. Pfeifer (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States
434-924-4803 (Phone)


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