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Leaving home without it
October 24, 1997: 8:38 a.m. ET

Defections decimate advisory unit of American Express, may slow growth
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - American Express Co.'s Financial Advisors unit reportedly is reeling from a widespread series of resignations that have led to the loss of more than six dozen financial advisers.
     According to a report in Friday's Wall Street Journal, American Express confirmed that John R. Hantz, who headed the unit's Detroit region, resigned Thursday morning, saying he is going to start his own money-management firm. By late Thursday afternoon, 77 of the approximately 400 advisers working in the Detroit office also had quit.
     Hantz, who was with the firm for 11 years, reportedly earned almost $1 million a year -- more than double the $400,000 average salary for regional managers.
     The company late Thursday said Teresa Hanratty, group vice president of its northern New England office, will assume leadership of the Detroit region while the company searches for a permanent successor.
     Analysts tell the newspaper the defections could hurt the unit's growth, which has been one of American Express' crown jewels. The unit manages $162 billion in assets, has a professional staff of 8,500 and is American Express Co.'s fastest-growing unit.
     The company also told the newspaper the Detroit office was responsible for a large portion of Financial Services' business.
     Hantz said that over the past year he had been asking American Express for greater operating independence. When those talks ended several months ago, Hantz still indicated he would remain with the company, sources told the Journal.Back to top


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