BOSTON (AP) — The name George “Gus” Sauter may not ring a bell for most investors. But it probably should, because Sauter may very well have influenced how their retirement funds are invested.

Gus Sauter, VanguardAs Vanguard’s chief investment officer, Sauter, left, has been instrumental in guiding the company to become the largest mutual fund provider and one of the industry’s fastest-growing firms, despite its size.

He joined Vanguard in 1987, just as index fund investing was beginning to really catch on, and just over a decade after Jack Bogle founded the company. Bogle became an outspoken advocate for index investing, the no-frills approach of owning all the stocks in a market index. It’s a way to minimize costs by avoiding the higher fees charged by professional stock-pickers who fail to beat the market more often than not.

Sauter expanded both the index and actively managed mutual fund lineups at the Valley Forge, Pa.-based company, and led its move into exchange-traded funds in 2001. Two years later, he was named the company’s first-ever CIO. Sauter has enhanced Vanguard’s reputation as the industry’s lowest-cost provider, leading initiatives to cut everything from trading expenses to in-house operational costs.

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