STAR-BULLETIN FILE 2006
Paul Loo, head of Morgan Stanley in Hawaii, is known for his philanthropic donations to Hawaii Pacific University. Above, Loo at the ConTempo fundraiser at Neiman Marcus Ala Moana in April 2006.
Longtime isle stock guru Paul Loo to retire after 47 years in business
Loo retires tomorrow as head of Morgan Stanley in Hawaii
Paul Loo, highly regarded in isle financial, education, theater and art communities, will end a 47-year career with Honolulu investment firm Morgan Stanley when he retires tomorrow as executive director.
The 76-year-old Loo, the only surviving co-founder of Hawaii Pacific University, plans to continue giving back to the community with philanthropic endeavors. He has donated millions of dollars over the years, he said, with most of his wealth built up from investing in his own company, Morgan Stanley, over the course of nearly 50 years.
His successor will be Gwen Pacarro, who has been with the Honolulu office for nearly 24 years and will be the first woman to lead the Morgan Stanley firm in Hawaii.
There's a book on the credenza behind Paul Loo's desk that might look out of place among others he has there, written by highly regarded Wall Street experts.
But when students visit the Bishop Street office of Morgan Stanley and ask him what book he most recommends to become a successful investor, Loo reaches over and picks up "Aesop's Fables," which features an illustration of "The Tortoise and the Hare" on its cover.
"I tell them that's the best financial book ever to read because the way to get rich is to do it slowly," said the 76-old-executive director, who is retiring tomorrow after a 47-year career at the financial-services firm.
His successor will be Gwen Pacarro, who has been with the Honolulu office for nearly 24 years and will be the first woman to lead Morgan Stanley in Hawaii.
Loo, well known in the community for millions of dollars in philanthropic donations to Hawaii Pacific University, Chaminade University, theater and the arts, attributes his financial success to four factors:
» Accruing his assets in Morgan Stanley's stock for nearly 50 years.
» Staying married to the same woman, the former Violet Shaw, so he didn't have to settle his estate multiple times.
» Good health.
"I've been a believer in buying the best-of-the-breed quality companies and holding onto them," Loo said. "I've never been a short seller (betting on a stock going down) and I've never been in derivatives. I've always been a fundamental investor, and I've put most of my wealth in my own company."
Loo, the only surviving co-founder of HPU, declined to disclose his net worth, but says he is one of the largest shareholders of Morgan Stanley in the state.
"I jokingly tell people I have a lifetime supply," he said. "There was one person who just recently retired after over 40 years (with Morgan Stanley), invested on a regular basis, and pulled out $31 million," Loo said.
He said staying married to the same woman helped him preserve his assets, and he also has been fortunate that "God didn't call me away."
"I had some successful friends who just never made 76 and never had the advantage of compound returns and the ability to let that run," he said.
Loo said it's time to turn over his job to a younger generation of managers and spend more time with his five grandchildren. He said he plans to keep "a little cubby hole" in the office to help the new manager, as well as continue his work in philanthropic areas. Those include, he said, helping the homeless through the Institute for Human Services (where his wife sits on the board), helping HPU and Chaminade through his role as a board member, working with his parish at St. Clement's Episcopal Church in Makiki to develop a giving program, aiding a health services organization that he hasn't chosen yet and doing work for the Contemporary Museum in terms of fundraising.
"When you think of Paul Loo and Morgan Stanley, you think of them exclusively as being the same," said Colleen Blacktin, who works down the street from Loo as vice president and manager of Charles Schwab. "He's been a pillar of the investment community, and he's really supported the community with his philanthropic endeavors."
Among his generosity was contributing "just south of a million" dollars to set the stage for the soon-to-be-built performing arts center on HPU's Windward Hawaii Loa campus. The Paul and Vi Loo Performing Arts Center will be housed in a new student center. In the interim, the current HPU Theatre was renamed the Paul and Vi Loo Theatre.
Loo also is the founder of HPU's annual Paul C.T. Loo Distinguished Alumni Awards Banquet and received HPU's Fellow of the Pacific Award, the university's highest honor, in 2001.
"Paul is truly one of Hawaii's treasures, and I am proud to call him a friend," HPU President Chatt Wright said in a statement.
Wright said Loo's inspiration and support has enabled HPU to become this state's largest private university and a leader in higher education in the Pacific region.
"Paul and Vi are philanthropic leaders who appreciate the value of education," he said.
At Chaminade, Loo was instrumental in helping finance the Vi and Paul Loo Student Center that was dedicated last year.
"We're probably getting named on too many things," Loo said.
But it all comes with the territory for Loo, who said he's had "a wonderful career" and wants to continue giving back to the community. He's even donated $50,000 to an HPU investment group so they can manage real dollars and have more accountability for their decisions.
"They're tomorrow's people; I'm yesterday," he said. "I'm out of here, and to see students do stock research and to help them in some way, that's exciting. That's why I got involved in education."