Happy In Bag

Monday, February 20, 2006

Put Your "Can't Beat the Index" Face On

I’ve been amused by the various reactions to the enormous Lance Armstrong image that’s been creeping out Kansas City for a couple weeks. It’s a classic Rorschach test.

In my case, the Lance promotion reinforces my opinion that American Century has lost its way. Jim Stowers founded the mutual fund company in 1958 as a new way to provide the small investor access to Wall Street. His strong ethics and intelligent management made a lot of ordinary savers wealthy. But in the last decade, it seems that the company’s priorities have changed.

Most importantly, their financial results are mediocre. American Century’s most popular fund, Ultra, lagged its benchmark S&P 500 index in 2005, the last five years and the last ten years. At the same time, it seems that the company has shifted its focus from excelling on behalf of its shareholders to becoming a charitable institution. I suspect that the company’s human resources department has taken over.

I cringe every time I read about another award given to American Century for its charitable works or for being classified as one of America’s "best places to work." How about winning an award for being the best place to invest?

Put your "can’t beat the index" face on.


  • At 12:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Do you have any idea how long we'll have to endure Big Brother Lance?

  • At 12:48 PM, Blogger Happy In Bag said…

    A recent story in the Star indicated that American Century was breaking a city signage code, and that the company had 30 days (if memory serves) to take Lance down. American Century indicated they'd comply.

    I like how Lance's gaze finds you even from behind the stand of weeds in my photo.

  • At 4:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    If anything, the weeds make it *more* ominous.


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