Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fund Fun Janus Founder Never Saw Boom Coming

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fund Fun Janus Founder Never Saw Boom Coming

Article excerpt

If anybody could claim credit for having seen the mutual fund boom coming, it would logically be a pioneer like Thomas Bailey.

After all, he had the foresight to start the Janus Fund in 1969, when the industry was a small, specialized corner of the investment world that was about to embark on two decades of spectacular growth.

But Bailey is quick to say he had no vision of anything like the enterprise that the Denver-based Janus Capital Corp. has since become - managing $21.68 billion in assets in a family of a dozen funds, with 750 employees.

"Are you kidding? I thought it would be fun and I could make some money at it," he said. "What I saw was that I liked stocks and bonds, that I liked doing it and it wasn't like a job to me."

However, now that the fund industry has blossomed, growing fortyfold in less than 25 years, Bailey says it has established itself as a business with a sound product that he believes has further room for growth.

"I wouldn't classify it as a mania," he says. "The product is an excellent vehicle for long-term savings. I think it makes eminent sense."

The 56-year-old Bailey, while remaining chairman of Janus Capital and keeping an active hand in the business, has in recent years turned over the job of running the Janus funds to other managers - some of whom, like James Craig and Thomas Marsico, have become prominent industry figures in their own right.

But Janus's style doesn't seem to have changed much. The firm is known for picking stocks rather than timing the market, and for being willing to hold fairly large amounts of cash reserves when it can't find good investments. "Unlike most other fund groups, Janus's managers don't feel the need to be fully invested at all times," said investment adviser Sheldon Jacobs in his annual Handbook for No-Load Fund Investors. "When they buy, they buy aggressively. …

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