American Century said today that it would cut 90 workers, or about 3% of its workforce, from its Kansas City–based operations in an attempt to stabilize its finances amid declining markets and dwindling assets under management.

"It’s been a tough year," said spokesman Chris Doyle. "We’re a strong company, but market depreciation takes its toll on profitability."

The firm’s assets under management had plummeted 22% year to date as of October, according Financial Research Corporation.

The staff cuts will likely be concentrated among the firm’s technology workers, with some cuts in corporate marketing, electronic commerce and other divisions. The firm won’t likely slash any staff from its asset management division. Employees won’t know if their jobs are secure until Jan. 7 of next year, Doyle said. By that date the firm will likely have reduced its staff from 3,200 employees to about 3,110.

This is the second time in a month that American Century has slashed jobs. In mid-November the firm said it would cut some 70 staff in a restructuring of its sales force that was designed to shift the company’s focus from direct sales to selling through intermediaries such as broker/dealers and financial planners.

Employees affected by the cuts have typically been offered money for insurance benefits, annual bonuses, a profit-sharing payment to their retirement plans and other perks as part of their severance packages, Doyle said.

Current employees will now go into 2002 without annual salary increases, but will get their annual bonuses, he said. In addition, the firm isn’t formally freezing new hires, but it is reducing the rate at which it takes on new staff, Doyle said. No additional cuts are expected in the near future.

"The cuts put us in a position to be economically strong even if the markets worsen," Doyle said. "We’re very confident this is it."

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