Okay, I have some more scoop on American Century's new LIVESTRONG mutual funds which have Tour de France champ Lance Armstrong as their celebrity spokesman.
The slogan of the LIVESTRONG campaign is Put Your Lance Face On.. During a call with reporters Thursday, the ever-down-to-earth Lance Armstrong seemed a bit embarrassed by that slogan, though. Sheepish or not, it’s a shrewd marking move: A portion of the fund proceeds will go to his Lance Armstrong Foundation, which supports cancer research. American Century and Lance Armstrong’s new LIVESTRONG mutual funds may mark the next wave in socially responsible funds. Perhaps Bono and Vanguard will team up to launch a line of funds that relieve world debt. (That ties in nicely since Vanguard’s shtick is that they don’t gauge investors with high expenses.) But I digress…
Armstrong says he wants “to motivate and to inspire investors to make every investment count.” The idea for the partnership came “a while back” when Mark Killen, American Century’s senior vice president of corporate and product marketing, read an article about cancer in a competing financial magazine. The story included Armstrong as well as the Stowers family, which has given more than $2 billion for cancer research. “Something clicked and then the ball started rolling,” Armstrong says.
Because the participants on the press call were a bunch of fund reporters, Lance was asked the standard mutual fund scandal question. Did he, the hero of all heroes, worry about teaming up with a scandal-ridden industry? “For us, it took one trip to Kansas City to meet Mr. and Mrs. Stowers,” Armstrong said. “We quickly realized this is a different type of company. It’s based in the middle of the country. Their mentality reflects that. We didn’t have any questions about their honesty or integrity.”
As I suspected, the funds will have target maturities, starting with 2015, and will combine an asset allocation of stocks, bonds and cash. We’ll get more information on fees, as well as well as the percentage of proceeds that will be given to Lance’s foundation in May. Lance plans to partner up with American Century for at least three years.
In the meantime, keep your eye out for the new ads. It’s hard to miss the Lance Face.