Rodney O. Martin Jr., chairman and CEO of ING U.S., said Thursday he was encouraged by the response to the firm’s IPO, with investors showing “a strong commitment to our story.”
In an interview, Mr. Martin said he was pleased with the stock market reaction. Priced at $19.50 a share, the stock rose nearly 7% and closed at $20.84.
By 2014, the company will be renamed Voya Financial, and all of its products will be rebranded under the Voya name.
The IPO represents about 65.2 million shares, reducing the stake held by the company’s parent, the Dutch financial giant ING Group, to 75%.
Mr. Martin said ING Group will sell at least another 25% by the end of 2014, and sell its remaining shares by 2016.
The ING U.S. underwriters initially had priced the IPO in the range of $21 to $24 a share, indicating it could have raised as much as $1.5 billion instead of the approximately $1.3 billion at Thursday’s opening price.
“The pricing of a transaction of this size is more art than science,” Mr. Martin said.
The spinoff of ING U.S. will enhance its strategy of promoting retirement readiness, helping consumers with “asset accumulation, protection and distribution,” Mr. Martin said.
For the year ended Dec. 31, ING U.S. had pre-tax earnings of $1.1 billion, of which 74% came from its retirement and investment businesses, he said.
According to Pension & Investments’ survey of DC plan record keepers, ING U.S. was the fifth largest in assets, second largest in number of sponsors and third largest in number of participants as of Sept. 30, 2012.