AMEX Cleans House
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Thursday, November 20, 2003

AMEX Cleans House

A lot is going on at American Express.

Today the company announced that it has let go of several employees at its Minneapolis office and will be closing or merging several funds. While the company recently admitted that it has been contacted by regulators for information about mutual fund trading practices, the company said its moves are not connected to the investigation.

Instead, the company told various news organizations that its decisions are part of its ongoing efforts to revamp its Minneapolis division in the same way that it has already improved its California and Massachusetts offices.

In all, the firm plans to eliminate five managers and seven analysts from its Minneapolis office. There are 13 U.S. equity portfolio managers and 48 equity research analysts in the Minneapolis office.

At the same time, the company has decided to merge five of its equity funds and close one droping the firm's fund offerings to 58 from 64.

A spokesperson said the changes will be completed by the middle of next year. He added that eliminated employees could apply for other positions within the company.

The new fund changes as detailed in an SEC filing are:

  • A new fund, The AXP New Dimensions Fund, will combine the AXP Focused Growth Fund and the AXP Growth Dimensions Fund.

  • The AXP Blue Chip Advantage Fund and the AXP Research Opportunities Fund will be merged into the AXP Large Cap Equity Fund.

  • The AXP Progressive Fund will be merged with the AXP Partners Select Value Fund.

  • The firm plans to close the AXP Mid Cap Index Fund pending board and SEC approval.

    Meanwhile, the company announced that two managers would recieve promotions.

    Doug Chase, the current manager of the Large Cap Equity Fund will begin managing the Research Opportunities Fund immediately. Chase will also begin managing the Blue Chip Advantage Fund in January.

    Also, Gordon Fines who already heads the company’s growth team, has been named portfolio manager of the Focused Growth Fund.

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