SIMSBURY, Conn. Hartford Financial nearly doubled its defined contribution plan assets under management and administration in one month.
With two significant acquisitions in December, Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. added $24 billion in defined contribution record-keeping assets under management and administration, bringing its total to $53 billion.
The Simsbury-based firm last month agreed to acquire the defined contribution record-keeping businesses of Princeton Retirement Group, Atlanta, and Sun Life Retirement Services Inc., Boston, formerly known as MFS Retirement Services. Princeton Retirement Group is owned by Merrill Lynch Retirement Group, Pennington, N.J.
Princeton added $7 billion to Hartfords total, while Sun Life added $17 billion.
Marty Swanson, vice president of Hartford, said these acquisitions show the firms desire to increase its scale and branch out into other markets.
In the last four or five years, we had tremendous growth. We had a lot of organic growth, but were still a smaller player on the retirement side. We wanted to accelerate that growth. When we looked at acquisitions, we wanted to increase our scale in core markets. The Sun Life deal is a scale play. The Princeton deal expands our business into new markets, he said.
Sun Lifes assets are mostly from the small-plan market, increasing Hartfords scale in that area.
Princeton provides administration and record keeping to midsize plans, and Hartford executives are especially interested in breaking into that market. The firms base has been small 401(k), 457 and 403(b) plans.
Scale is essential to grow and grow quickly. These deals put us in a good position to go after larger plans, Mr. Swanson said.
The Princeton deal, which adds 720 plan clients, is a gateway into the midsize business, he noted.
Many of their plans are on the larger size. We focused on small business owners and have played in that space. In the last 18 months, we wanted to creep up market to midsize plans, he said, adding that Hartford will now target plans with up to $100 million in assets.
The Sun Life deal adds 6,000 plans, bringing the number of plans under record keeping to 30,000.
More acquisitions are a possibility, he said.
If we see another business that makes sense, sure, we would go forward, said Mr. Swanson. He declined to say if Hartford is in talks with any other record keepers.
Hartford also agreed to acquire TopNoggin a Powell, Ohio-based defined benefit administrative and consulting firm in December.
The deals are expected to close during the first quarter . Executives declined to discuss terms.