May 2, 2013 6:08 PM by Jesse Cohen
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - American Century Investments on Thursday said that its American Century Livestrong mutual funds will no longer use the name of the cancer charity founded by disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong.
A spokesman declined to comment on whether the name change from Livestrong to "One Choice" came in response to Armstrong's Jan. 17 televised confession that he used performance-enhancing drugs to win a record seven Tour de France titles.
The company said the change would consolidate American Century's target-date funds and a separate series of target-risk funds under one name.
On May 31, the name change will take effect for 10 target-date funds, which automatically adjust portfolios to a more conservative mix of investments approaching the target year when an investor hopes to retire. Those funds will take the "One Choice" name that American Century already uses for five target-risk funds, which seek to expose its investors to a specified amount of risk, regardless of the investor's age..
American Century, based in Kansas City, Mo., has used the Livestrong name on its target-date funds since 2006. That's when it began working with the cancer charity to help it fund and promote programs serving people affected by the disease.
More than 40 percent of the profits that the privately held company generates are directed to medical research, including cancer research, according to American Century. Since 2000, nearly $1 billion has been directed to the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, begun by the company's founder Jim Stowers and his wife Virginia.
American Century said the name change for the target-date funds reflects the fact that the company supports multiple cancer-related charities.
"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," Mark Killen, American Century's chief marketing officer, said in a news release.
Armstrong's admission to using performance-enhancing drugs followed years of denials, and came after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency revealed evidence of doping by Armstrong and his teammates.
Since that evidence was released, Armstrong has lost personal endorsement deals and left the Livestrong Foundation. He also was stripped of his Tour de France titles.
As recently as late January, an American Century spokesman said the company's target-date funds would continue to use the Livestrong name.
The highly rated funds have continued to attract cash since Armstrong's confession. The Livestrong portfolios attracted $700 million in net deposits during the first quarter, and total assets grew to $7.6 billion, a spokesman said.