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Rating: New Advice Recommends Specific Outside Funds Not Rated 3.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Tuesday, November 30, 1999

New Advice Recommends Specific Outside Funds

Reported by Hayley Green

There has been a proliferation of retirement advice vehicles in recent months. However on the asset management side advice has been slow in coming, as companies shy away from services that compete with financial intermediaries. Until now.

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At the beginning of they new millennium American Century will be offering its mutual fund investors advice, not only on how to allocate investments, but also advice on which specific funds to buy.

The Kansas City, Mo. company's Fund Advisor, found on the company's website, will attempt to answer the most popular question asked by 10,000 callers a day: "What should I do to achieve my goals?" Chris Doyle, a spokesperson at American Century said.

"(Companies like) Financial Engines (are) geared to the 401(k) market," Doyle said. "This goes beyond retirement planing to include short term goals such as saving for a house or college."

To make the product unbiased American Century has included funds from outside the company. Among the choices are Fidelity Investments, Vanguard Group, T. Rowe Price Associates and other large fund companies.

To choose the funds the 9,000 mutual fund universe, according to AC, was taken and all the load funds were screened out leaving about 4,400 funds, Doyle said. "Those funds were screened down to funds that would be appropriate to investors leaving 70 final funds."

The company is planning to have Fund Advisor up and running by the beginning of the year. The service will have a trial period until March but will cost users $80 a year, or $25 a quarter for the service, for investors with less than $50,000 in assets at American Century. It will be free to American Century customers with accounts exceeding $50,000.

Doyle said that he felt the price is competitive with other advice providers and that people will be willing to pay the relatively small amount of money required for financial guidance. He also said that electronic advice will not replace investment advisors but will simply provide investors with a second opinion or starting point.

A version targeted towards the 401(k) marketplace will be introduced later in the year. 

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