T. Rowe’s strategy has helped the company secure net inflows in all but one of the five years through 2018; revenue rose 35% over the period. By contrast, Legg Mason saw outflows of more than $80 billion in its past four fiscal years. Franklin’s outflows were even deeper, with clients withdrawing more than $100 billion in its past four fiscal years.

A Franklin spokesman declined to comment. A spokeswoman for Legg Mason said it “has sought to diversify its investment offerings in fixed income and equity categories, while adding alternative investment capabilities.”

T. Rowe keeps a narrow focus on U.S. mutual funds -- a strategy that comes with trade-offs. The fund house obsesses over its cautious, meticulous investment process and long history, to the extent that it called its company mascot -- a bighorn sheep -- “Trusty” on fears that the original name “Lucky” would reflect badly on how it chooses stocks.

One ex-staffer recalled toting a photo of founder Thomas Rowe Price Jr. on sales calls, displaying the image to institutional investors to illustrate the firm’s principles and history.

The steady-as-she goes ethos is part of the investment process, and helped about 75% of the firm’s U.S. mutual funds do better than the median offering in their class over the past five years, according to Morningstar. It also competes on price, with about half of T. Rowe’s funds charging below the industry average, Morningstar data show.

Stromberg has spent more than 30 years at the 7,000-person company, which he joined after a brief stint playing for the Philadelphia Eagles. It’s not uncommon to see portfolio managers for T. Rowe funds stay put for decades. Some financial advis0rs favor that consistency.

The CEO is aware that the years ahead could be challenging, despite the firm’s successes.

Passive investing continues to gather momentum. In August, assets in U.S. index-based equity mutual funds and exchange-traded funds topped those in active stock funds for the first time: $4.3 trillion compared with $4.2 trillion, respectively, according to Morningstar.

While it may help with stock-picking T. Rowe’s conservative culture means it can miss out on major industry shifts, such as the growth of index funds. The firm chose not to make a heavy push into such products, said Stromberg, deciding it was too crowded to stand out.

“There wasn’t much room for another player,” he said.