Mutual fund giant The Vanguard Group on Friday said it plans to add a Harvard professor as an independent member of its board of directors and the board of trustees of its 128 funds.

Andre Perold, a professor of finance and banking at the Harvard Business School, will join the Valley Forge, Pa.-based fund complex at the end of the year. He has been a Harvard faculty member since 1979, teaching courses in investment management and capital markets in the MBA program.

"His experience, knowledge and insights as a distinguished academic, author and consultant will prove invaluable in his service to Vanguard fund shareholders," said John Brennan, Vanguard’s chairman and chief executive officer, in a prepared statement.

Currently, Perold’s research focuses on questions relating to the structure and evolution of the investment management industry, asset allocation policies of pension funds, risk management and capital allocation within financial firms and hedge funds.

Vanguard is the nation’s second-largest mutual fund company with more than $750 billion in assets under management.

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