James Stowers, American Century Investments founder, dies at 90

Turned $100,000 in seed money in 1958 into the $141 billion money management powerhouse

Mar 18, 2014 @ 5:14 pm

James E. Stowers Jr., founder of American Century Investments, who turned $100,000 in seed money in 1958 into the company that today has $141 billion under management, has died. He was 90.

He died Monday at his home in Kansas City, Mo., following a period of declining health, the company said in a statement.

American Century, named “Best Large Mutual Fund Company” at the 2009 Lipper Fund Awards, dedicates 40% of its profits to support research into genetic-based diseases including cancer, diabetes and dementia. The majority shareholder of the Kansas City-based company is the nonprofit Stowers Institute for Medical Research, which Mr. Stowers created the center with his wife, Virginia, after both were diagnosed with cancer.

Once among the richest Americans, he fell out of the Forbes 400 ranking in 2001 after donating $1.2 billion to endow the medical institute. Forbes reported in 2012 that Mr. Stowers had donated a total of $2 billion, or 20 times his then-net worth of $100 million.

“For Jim, creating new knowledge was the most powerful contribution he could offer mankind,” Richard W. Brown, chairman of American Century and the Stowers Institute, said in the company statement. “Throughout his whole life, whether as businessman or philanthropist, he thought about making things better for other people.”

Mr. Stowers founded the firm, originally known as Twentieth Century, in 1958 in a one-bedroom apartment in Kansas City, according to the company.

Twentieth Century Mutual Funds became American Century in 1997 after a merger with Benham Group.

The company said Mr. Stowers once wrote, “From the start of our company, we had a dream. That dream was to try to offer people only the best products and services — second to none.”

(Bloomberg News)


What do you think?

View comments

Recommended for you

Sponsored financial news

Featured video


Top questions surrounding future of DOL fiduciary rule

Reporter Greg Iacurci and managing editor Christina Nelson discuss the biggest uncertainties springing from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals' decision to vacate the regulation.

Latest news & opinion

What the next market downturn means for small RIAs

Firms that have enjoyed AUM growth because of the runup in stocks may find it hard to adjust to declining revenues if the market suffers a major correction.

DOL fiduciary rule likely to live on despite appeals court loss

Future developments will hinge on whether the Labor Department continues the fight to remake the regulation its own way.

DOL fiduciary rule: Industry reacts to Fifth Circuit ruling

Groups on both sides of the fiduciary debate had plenty to say.

Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals vacates DOL fiduciary rule

In split decision, judges say agency exceeded authority.

UBS, after dumping the broker protocol, continues to see brokers come and go

The wirehouse has seen 14 individuals or teams leave and five join for a net loss of $2.4 billion in AUM


Hi! Glad you're here and we hope you like all the great work we do here at InvestmentNews. But what we do is expensive and is funded in part by our sponsors. So won't you show our sponsors a little love by whitelisting investmentnews.com? It'll help us continue to serve you.

Yes, show me how to whitelist investmentnews.com

Ad blocker detected. Please whitelist us or give premium a try.


Subscribe and Save 60%

Premium Access
Print + Digital

Learn more
Subscribe to Print