Incoming CEO of Vanguard, manager of nearly $5 trillion, says cybersecurity keeps him up at night

Key Points
  • Vanguard's Tim Buckley tells the Evidence-Based Investing conference that cyber "is front of mind all the time."
  • "I'm already stressing myself out [talking about it]," he says.
Tim Buckley, Vanguard President
Giovanny Moreano | CNBC

Vanguard's Tim Buckley shared that his biggest fear in running the multitrillion dollar investment firm: getting hacked.

Buckley, who succeeds Bill McNabb as CEO on Jan. 1, was asked at the 2nd-annual Evidence-Based Investing conference what keeps him up at night.

"Cyber," he replied at Thursday's conference in New York. "It is front of mind all the time. It's a huge investment for us."

"You have to make sure you have defense in depth. Making sure you have a strong perimeter."

The executive said he feels the burden for the retirements of millions of clients and the firm's trillions of dollars in assets.

"I'm already stressing myself out [talking about it]," he said.

Buckley also responded to criticism that the rise of passive indexing hurts the "price discovery" of assets or at what valuations companies should accurately trade based on fundamentals.

"Indexing doesn't distort prices at all. Indexing is a price taker," he said. "Whatever the market says it is worth" is what indexers pay.

He noted that passive investing represented only 35 percent of mutual fund assets and only 5 percent of trading volumes.

Buckley is president and director of Vanguard. The firm is widely regarded as the leader of passive index investing. It has $4.7 trillion of assets under management.