There are a few mutual fund companies that have been around for over a century-like Legg Mason or Old Mutual Asset Management. Principal Funds is another, launching its first fund in May 1939 and now offering several dozen products including target-date and target-risk, equity and fixed-income funds.

So how does a 134-year-old company cut it in the modern mutual fund era? Brand recognition certainly continues to pose a challenge for the company, even after making a splash in 2006 when it acquired Washington Mutual's mutual fund management arm WM Advisors (now Edge Asset Management) for $740 million. Just last year, the company made several expansions to its retirement business, banking on outcome-focused strategies to manage risk and generate retirement income for investors.

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