PASSINGS: Howard B. Schow

Howard B. Schow

Manager of Vanguard mutual funds

Howard B. Schow, 84, a well-regarded manager of Vanguard mutual funds such as the $30.1-billion Vanguard Primecap, died of natural causes April 8 at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, said Joel P. Fried, president of Pasadena-based Primecap Management Co.

A San Marino resident who was co-founder and chairman emeritus of Primecap Management, Schow — rhymes with “now” — managed portions of five funds for Vanguard Group Inc., the world’s biggest mutual fund company.

Schow, Fried and Primecap Management’s vice chairman, Theo A. Kolokotrones, were named domestic stock managers of the year for 2003 by Morningstar Inc.

In a rare 1994 interview with Forbes magazine, the publicity-averse Schow cited the importance of patience to go along with savvy stock picking.

“We don’t go for 20% or 30% gains,” Schow said. “We go for triples, quadruples, octuples. But that takes years.”

“A lot of doing well is drudgery,” he added.

Howard Bernard Schow was born July 28, 1927, and grew up on New York’s Long Island. After serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, he attended Williams College and Harvard Business School. He started his investing career with $6,000 earned as a settlement after a serious car accident, according to Charles D. Ellis’ 2004 book, “Capital: The Story of Long-Term Investment Excellence.”

Schow moved to Los Angeles in 1962 to work at Capital Research & Management Co., the oldest unit of Capital Group Cos., one of the largest U.S. investment companies. There, he rose to chairman.

Under his guidance, the firm’s Amcap Fund returned 12.7% annually, compounded, from its inception in 1967, Forbes reported in its 1994 profile. That fund’s recipe for success was mixing large companies with fast-growing, innovative small ones, then holding shares for years, Forbes said.

In 1983, Schow left Capital Research to open his own firm, landing the contract with Vanguard to run its new Primecap fund.

Bloomberg News