May 6, 2013

American Century to Drop Livestrong Brand

The fund family also intends to rollout a new retirement-plan share class in late July as it consolidates its fund-of-funds offerings

Lance Armstrong (Photo: AP) Lance Armstrong (Photo: AP)

American Century said Thursday that will drop the Livestrong name from its target-date funds at the end of May. These funds will be rebranded One Choice, which the Kansas City-based firm uses now for its target-risk funds.

According to Morningstar, the Livestrong funds have been marketed by American Century in cooperation with the Livestrong Foundation since 2006 and have about $7.6 billion in assets, making the group the 10th largest series of target-date mutual funds in the United States.

In addition, American Century says in late July it will add a new retirement plan share class to many of its mutual funds and consolidate its asset-allocation "fund-of-funds" portfolios under a single sub-brand: R6.

"Seven years ago, the co-branding of our target-date funds as Livestrong was an innovative way to support those impacted by cancer, while sharing with clients and the public at large how a significant portion of our corporate profits fund lifesaving research," said Chief Marketing Officer Mark Killen, in a press release. "While we continue to support Livestrong and its mission, in light of our broadened commitment to the cause, showcasing a single entity no longer tells the full story."

Cyclist Lance Armstrong founded the Livestrong Foundation to promote cancer research. Armstrong recently admitting to doping during his career and was stripped of many awards.

The fund company says the R6 shares will have the lowest total expense ratio of any of its share classes. The new share class should be available on July 31 for 42 funds, including the firm's target-date portfolios.

"The new share class gives our clients more options when determining the best way to pay for the investment management and recordkeeping costs associated with employer-sponsored retirement plans," said Chief Client Officer Americas Peter Cieszko, in a statement.

"Expanding access to our product line at all price points maximizes flexibility for our clients. Furthermore, we believe that the consolidation of our target-date and target-risk funds under our already-established 'One Choice' sub-brand will make it easier to navigate our range of quality retirement investment solutions," Cieszko added.

American Century is partly owned by the Stowers Institute for Medical Research. American Century founder James E. Stowers Jr. and wife Virginia Stowers, both cancer survivors, founded the institute.

Each year, more than 40% of American Century profits are directed to the Stowers Institute. Since 2000, the Institute has received nearly $1 billion in company dividends.

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