AmEx Has Enough Investment Capacity Amid Cost Cuts, Squeri Says

American Express Co., the biggest U.S. credit-card issuer by purchases, has enough investment capacity even while keeping expense growth below 3 percent, Steve Squeri, president of global corporate services, said.

“When you say something like you’re going to hold your operating expenses under 3 percent, one of the concerns that immediately comes up is, are you going to have enough investment capacity,” Squeri said today at the Barclays Global Financial Services Conference in New York. “We believe we do.”

Kenneth I. Chenault, chairman and chief executive officer of New York-based American Express, has targeted expense growth of less than 3 percent for the next two years, a goal the company is “very confident we’ll hit,” Squeri said. In the first half of 2013, costs have been little changed from the year-earlier period, he said.

“We’re also very confident that it leaves us with enough flexibility and enough degrees of freedom to not only deal with any compliance issues that may come up but to also deal with investment opportunities that will arise as well,” Squeri said.

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