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Former Manager of Vanguard Fund Dies

Ed Owens, who managed Vanguard Health Care for nearly three decades, left a lasting impact.

Former Vanguard Health Care VGHAX manager Ed Owens was perhaps the most successful sector fund manager in the mutual fund industry, and his influence remains apparent at the strategy he ran for nearly three decades. He died on Nov. 27, 2022, according to recent news reports.

Owens, who was a veteran manager of the fund’s subadvisor, Wellington Management, posted exceptional returns over his long tenure. The strategy’s 16.4% annualized gain from its May 1984 inception to his Sept. 4, 2012, retirement outpaced the S&P 500 index’s 10.7%. That made him not only one of the most accomplished sector fund managers ever but also led him to be often included in lists of the best equity fund managers overall. Owens established a reputation for his measured, low-turnover approach and willingness to own international stocks.

Owens left Vanguard Health Care in excellent hands when he retired. Current lead manager Jean Hynes comanaged the strategy with Owens for four years prior to his retirement and had been an analyst on his team since 1992; she and the present team still follow Owens’ patient, global approach while she also serves as Wellington’s CEO.

Owens built a time-tested strategy that continues to serve investors well. As of December 2022, the nearly $50-billion-in-assets strategy was not only the largest in the health Morningstar Category but also the biggest sector equity fund or exchange-traded fund of any type.

The author or authors do not own shares in any securities mentioned in this article. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.

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