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 LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT - Credit card companies cancel on Muslim New Yorkers (full story)  [Source: Citylimits.org]

Say that you are one of those fortunate people who manage to pay off most of their credit cards every month. Then imagine your surprise when one of your cards is cancelled for no apparent reason. You'd be outraged, especially if you found out this was only happening to you and your friends. That's exactly what Farooq Firdous experienced. Last summer, Firdous, a Pakistani who got his green card in 1997 after 11 years of legal residence in the U.S., received a phone call from an American Express representative regarding a credit card he held. The rep requested that he send the company a mountain of paperwork: three years of tax returns, six months of bank statements and a job verification letter.
 American Express Unit Pays $350,000 NASD Fine (full story)  [Source: Thestreet.com]

American Express Financial Advisors, the financial planning arm of American Express (AXP:NYSE - news - commentary - research - analysis), is paying a $350,000 fine to settle allegations that its employees used improper sales practices in peddling variable annuities and life-insurance policies. The NASD, formerly the National Association of Securities Dealers, fined and censured American Express for violations that occurred over a 30-month period ending in 2000. Regulators contend that the firm's employees "did not adequately explain" to customers the benefits or limitations of a variable annuity and how it differs from an investment in a mutual fund.
 American Express Slaps Big Fee On Sales of Outside Fund Group. (full story)  [Source: Wall Street Journal]

American funds may be the top-performing mutual-fund family sold by American Express Financial Advisors, but the firm's clients shouldn't be surprised if its salespeople soon stop recommending the best-selling American Funds as investment choices. That is because starting in August, the unit of American Express Co. will start charging its sales representatives, which the company calls financial advisers, as much as $85 every time a client puts money into American Funds. The current fee for such a transaction is $20.
 Why brokers pitch the worst funds hardest (full story)  [Source: MSN Money Central]

Most of the stockbrokers who work for American Express (AXP, news, msgs) are what those in the real estate business call “motivated sellers.” But only of Amex’s proprietary, or house, funds. Beginning next month, if those brokers, whom Amex calls “financial advisers,” sell funds other than Amex’s own, their commissions will effectively be reduced. If the brokers sell the portfolios of the confusingly similarly named American Funds, which are among the best in the industry, the back-door commission cut could actually cost the broker money.
 American Express Sliding Off the Rails (full story)  [Source: thestreet.com]

The American Express (AXP:NYSE - news - commentary - research - analysis) looks to be running out of steam. The financial giant Monday reported second-quarter earnings that exceeded estimates, but the company also sounded an unnerving note of caution on full-year 2002 profits.
 Blunt Issues Order in Settlement with American Express Financial Advisors. (full story)  [Source: State of Missouri]

JEFFERSON CITY -- Missouri Secretary of State Matt Blunt announced today that he has issued an order requiring American Express Financial Advisors, Inc. to strengthen its oversight of its financial advisers. The order was issued in a settlement reached between the Securities Division of his office and American Express Financial Advisers. In March, former American Express Financial Adviser agent Rodney Belzer was sentenced to 10 years in prison for misappropriating more than $750,000 of his clients' money.
 American Express to settle $31M sex discrimination suit. (full story)  [Source: amexgendercase.com]

As part of the settlement, AEFA has agreed to pay into a settlement fund a total of thirty-one million dollars. As the Notice of Settlement explains in greater detail, Class Members may be entitled to receive a monetary award from the fund, and may be entitled to other relief under the settlement. You are a Class Member if you are
 Benacquisto, et al. v. American Express Financial Corp., et al. - Settlement Notices and Proof of Claim Forms (full story)  [Source: milberg.com from the wayback archives]

All persons or entities who have or had an interest in a cash value Life Insurance Policy or Deferred Annuity Contract Issued by IDS Life Insurance Company, IDS Life Insurance Company of New York, American Centurion Life Assurance Company, American Enterprise Life Insurance Company or American Partners Life Insurance Company or American Partners Life Insurance Company that was issued or in force at any time from January 1, 1985 through February 29, 2000 (The Class Period).
 Special Report: Client Complaints Threaten to Tarnish American Express' Golden Name (full story)  [Source: Thestreet.com]

As it expands, however, American Express Financial Advisors, now with 2 million clients, finds itself under increasing scrutiny. While the company reports a high client-satisfaction rate, hundreds of disgruntled customers have lodged formal complaints against the firm in recent years for allegedly deceiving them, mishandling their money or dribbling their investments away in inferior company products.
 American Express Expects Second Quarter Pre-Tax Charge of $826 Million To Write Down High-Yield Securities And Reduce Risk Profile of Investment Portfolio Second Quarter Earnings to Decline From Year Ago (full story)  [Source: Yahoo from the Wayback archives]

Company Expects Economy to Remain Weak into 2002; Intends to Take Third Quarter Restructuring Charge of $310 to $370 Million and Eliminate 4,000 to 5,000 Jobs

NEW YORK, July 18 /PRNewswire/ -- American Express Company said today that it expects second quarter earnings to decline approximately 76 percent from the $740 million or $0.54 per share that it earned in the same period a year ago. The decline will reflect a pre-tax charge of about $826 million ($537 million after-tax). This charge recognizes additional write-downs in the high-yield portfolio at American Express Financial Advisors (AEFA) and losses associated with rebalancing the portfolio towards lower-risk securities.
 American Express settles lawsuits for $215 million (full story)  [Source: Insure.com]

American Express has offered $215 million to settle three class action lawsuits that allege the company's life insurance and mutual fund division duped policyholders with misleading sales practices.
 At American Express, Some Workers Question the Culture, Too (full story)  [Source: Thestreet.com]

Diversity isn't a hollow word at American Express Financial Advisors. Of its planner recruits last year, 20% were minorities. Three of the company's six senior vice presidents are women. In the field, the firm goes out of its way to appeal to ethnic minorities and gay and lesbian investors. To hear some female advisers tell it, though, the company isn't as progressive as it's made out to be. They have filed complaints with the courts and federal employment officials that they have been belittled, bullied and harassed on the job. All of the accusations are pending.
 American Express settles worker suit for $15 million (full story)  [Source: bizjournals]

A group of advisors had filed suit in federal court here in March 1999, charging that the company had improperly classified them as independent contractors. The members of the group had worked for American Express Financial Advisors.
 American Express emerges from airline-merger rewards turbulence (full story)  [Source: Canoe.ca]

Amex Bank of Canada, which administers the American Express Platinum credit card, was confronted by angry card holders claiming it broke a contract when it interrupted a two-for-one promotion offered to clients who used the $399-a-year Platinum card to buy tickets from Canadian Airlines.

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