By issuing exchange-traded shares of the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund last Thursday, the Vanguard Group of Malvern, Pa. may have compromised its brand name and reputation of being a product innovator, not a product marketer, according to some industry observers.

"What's important [about last] Thursday is that it is an affirmation that Vanguard has turned into a marketing operation," said Daniel P. Wiener, editor of the monthly newsletter, The Independent Adviser for Vanguard Investors. "They are responding to the competitive threat of ETF's and they've got to stake their claim. The ETF train pulled out of the station and they weren't on it and they are trying to catch up."

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