Tomorrow marks fourteen years since I left a job with what I still call “IDS,” after having been there for fifteen years. By that time, it had long been a part of American Express (AXP). Now it goes by the name Ameriprise (AMP) and is the same in many ways, just not when it comes to the investment operation, which is unrecognizable from what it was.
The chart shows the performance of AXP versus the S&P 500 from the day I left, plus the performance on AMP once it was spun out in 2005.
For perspective, the broad financial sector has had returns around zero during this period, so these stocks have been stalwarts within their group. That having been said, they were each down around eighty percent in seventeen months during the financial crisis, more than giving back their lead versus the S&P, before rallying strongly.
AMP has always been a high-beta stock, which makes sense given how its revenues are tied to market movements. Like other traditional asset managers, it is finding organic growth tough to come by these days.
While the old IDS is gone, it formed the core of my experience in the investment business. The range of my work (different roles, products, asset classes, and clients) gave me the background to creatively solve problems for the consulting assignments I have these days — and to write about the investment world here and on the research puzzle. I’m grateful. (Chart: Bloomberg terminal.)