Hartford Scores a Hat Trick

December 20, 2007 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The Hartford has managed a hat trick, announcing its third acquisition this month.

The third is, far and away, the largest – and resolves what had been one of the more frequently rumored moves in recent months – the disposition of at least part of Merrill Lynch’s recordkeeping business.

The acquisition of the defined contribution recordkeeping alliance business of Atlanta, Georgia-based Princeton Retirement Group, when completed, will position theHartford to provide recordkeeping services to large financial firms which offer defined contribution plans to their clients.   With the transaction, The Hartford adds an additional $7 billion in retirement plan assets across over 720 plans and approximately 170,000 plan participants, according to a press release.

“Our ability to grow our retirement plans business depends in part on being able to provide retirement programs under The Hartford’s brand while offering our services to companies that offer retirement plans under their own brand.” said John Walters, president of The Hartford’s U.S. Wealth Management Group and co-COO of The Hartford’s life operations.  “As our third retirement plans acquisition in December, this agreement allows us to establish a foothold in a growing and profitable segment of the market while rounding out our service capabilities.   We welcome the employees of the alliance business of the Princeton Retirement Group.”

“We are excited that through this transaction, we are able to offer the alliance partners of Princeton Retirement Group new services that can bring significant capabilities and opportunities for business growth.” said Michael Falcon, Managing Director and Head of the Retirement Group at Merrill Lynch, in making the announcement.   “We’re pleased to continue to serve the majority of the Princeton Retirement Group business that is not part of the transaction through our core integrated benefits platform.   This transaction offers us the opportunity for continued investment in growing our core capabilities for the retirement marketplace.”

On the close of the transaction, expected to occur during the first quarter of 2008, the approximately 200 alliance business employees will be offered positions with The Hartford.    In addition, the company intends to maintain its current offices in Atlanta and Winston-Salem, NC.   The terms of the agreement were not disclosed and it is not expected to be material to the company's operations.  

The alliance business of the Princeton Retirement Group, which is owned by Merrill Lynch, is a defined contribution recordkeeper based inAtlanta, Georgia, and Winston-Salem, North Carolina.   The business provides recordkeeping and administrative services to other financial institutions' retirement plans.  

This announcement joins The Hartford's recently announced agreements to purchase TopNoggin, an Ohio-based defined benefit administrative and consulting firm (See  Hartford Extends DB Technology With Acquisition ), and Boston-based Sun Life Retirement Services (U.S.), Inc. (RSI) (See Sun Life Sells US RK Biz to The Hartford ).  

See also:

2007 DC Survey Best in Class Listings

2007 PLANSPONSOR DC Survey - The Hartford

2007 PLANSPONSOR DC Survey - Merrill Lynch

PLANSPONSOR 2007 Recordkeeping Survey