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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Amvescap to Bring Back Something Old

Reported by Sean Hanna, Editor in Chief

The Invesco name will be returning to the U.S. market. AMVESCAP CEO and Chairman Martin Flanagan revealed the plans for a name switch in a letter to shareholders filed with the SEC Tuesday. The move is a surprising one considering that Amvescap dropped the Invesco Funds brand in the U.S. following the fund firm's settlement with Eliot Spitzer, which included the resignation of then-CEO Ray Cunningham.

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  • "As we operate and compete as a single, global investment management organization, there are compelling reasons for moving to a new company name that leverages the strengths of one of our existing business brands," wrote Flanagan and Chairman Rex Adams. "We are therefore proposing to shareholders that we replace the AMVESCAP name with INVESCO."

    The two executives explained that they chose INVESCO from among Amvescap's brands because it is the only brand used in every market in which the fund firm operates and because "being an investment management company is embedded in the name."

    "This does not mean we will be eliminating our other strong brands. Our long-term plan is to build on the power of these brands to enhance awareness of our company," they added.

    While Amvescap continues to rely on the Invesco brand overseas, it has mostly eliminated the moniker in the U.S., with the exception of its institutional business.

    While the move makes sense on a global basis (the Invesco Perputual brand is very strong in the United Kingdom, for example), it is a bold decision in the U.S. market where the fund firm has attempted to turn around its reputation after being dragged through the fund market timing scandals by Eliot Spitzer. It also has the side benefit of aligning the corporate brand with Invesco Field at Mile High, a name that remains from a stadium naming rights deal a half decade ago (see "More Uproar in Store for Mile High?, 9/1/2004").

    The decision also runs the risk of exposing soon-to-be Invesco to the "Google effect." As anyone who has used the ubiquitous search engine knows, virtually all writing on the Web from 1998 on is now permanently archived for searchers to find. That means that fund firms who have muddied their brand in a public way will find that past to be almost impossible to escape.  

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