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NEW YORK ( -- American Express Co. is looking for a new agency to handle advertising responsibilities for its Minneapolis-based Financial Advisors unit, a company spokesman said yesterday.

Agency consultancy Pile & Co. is conducting the review, which is for creative responsibilities only. WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide handles creative duties for the company. The American Express spokesman said Ogilvy is participating in the current review.

MindShare retains media
Media buying and planning will remain with MindShare, a WPP media network.

Judy Neer, exec-VP, managing partner at Pile & Co, Boston, said Pile is currently contacting other agencies. She said the review is expected to wrap up in a couple of months.

American Express for the first 10 months last year spent $41 million in measured media to advertise the business, according to TNS Media Intelligence. Annual spending is roughly $50 million.

On Feb. 1, American Express announced plans to spin off the Financial Advisors business to shareholders. The deal, said American Express management, is being done so the company can focus on faster-growing business, such as charge and credit cards, payments processing and travel businesses. The spin-off is expected to be completed in the third quarter.

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