Twentieth Century might become much bigger in the near future. There have been rumors for months that the company is interested in a merger with the Benham Group, a fixed-income fund specialist that would complement Twentieth Century's stock funds. Neither firm has confirmed the rumors.
But whether that happens or not, Stowers has built a company that's proven its endurance by surviving the bear markets of the early and mid-1970s, said James Stock, publisher of InvesTech Mutual Fund Advisor in Whitefish, Mont.
Last year, Twentieth Century, like many other funds, took a beating, performing "kind of average to below average," said Catherine Voss Sanders, an associate editor at Morningstar.
But analysts are upbeat about the firm.
"The company was obviously founded on good merit and is doing something right," Stock said.
"I think it's safe to say Twentieth Century will still be a fund company that will be with us after the next major bear market, and that's not something that can be said of all fund companies."