American Century Investments is an asset management firm that
offers retail mutual funds and money management to large
institutions. Its basic product offerings include
institutional class mutual funds, commingled trusts, separate
accounts, college savings plans and sub-advisory arrangements.
Although still a relatively small shop in terms of its
presenceâ€"American Century only has three office locations, in
Kansas City, New York and Mountain View, Calif.â€"the firm has
grown from offering just two mutual funds into a global asset
manager. Today, American Century manages about $100 billion
in assets and employs 1,300 people. A private company,
American Century's primary owners are the Stowers Institute for
Medical Research, and the publicly traded JPMorgan Chase, which has
a 45 percent equity stake in the firm. Voting control remains
with the Stowers family, and the firm is the fifth-largest
direct-marketed fund family in the country.
Formerly called Twentieth Century Investments, American Century
Investments was founded in 1958 by Jim Stowers Jr., who first
operated the business out of a small Kansas City apartment.
In 1973, Stowers was among the few investors utilizing computer
technology to aid in portfolio management. In the mid-1980s,
the firm broadened its mutual fund distribution beyond its
traditional retail direct-marketed business. American Century
built a third-party sales force to serve financial intermediaries
such as banks, insurance firms, investment advisors and
broker-dealers. The move was prompted by the realization that
investorsâ€"confused by the proliferation of new investment
choicesâ€"needed the type of "hand-holding" normally not associated
with the services provided by no-load companies.
The 1990s were a decade of growth for American Century. In
1991, the firm launched its first international portfolio.
Following the rollout of additional value-oriented offerings in the
early 1990s, the company added to its bond sector and quantitative
equity fund lineup through the acquisition of The Benham Group, a
fixed income investment management firm based in Mountain View,
After the turn of the new millennium, American Century made a push
into the institutional marketplace, the part of its business that
sells and services customized investment strategies directly to
institutional investors, which include corporate and government
retirement plans, endowments and foundations. American
Century continued growing its assets in 2007 when it acquired the
retail mutual fund assets of Kopp Investment Advisors, a
Minnesota-based firm that manages approximately $1.5 billion.
The acquisition brought American Century $225 million in mutual