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The Hartford Raises Its Profile in the Middle Market for Retirement Plans with New Sales and Marketing Initiatives

Source: The Hartford

Posted on 31 Aug 2010

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The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. announced on Monday a series of new initiatives to capture a larger share of the middle market for 401(k) defined contribution and defined benefit retirement plans.

As part of its ongoing efforts to raise its profile in the middle market, The Hartford appointed Denise Diana as vice president, retirement plans mid-market, to lead the new sales and marketing initiatives. Diana will create a new team of middle market specialists to support financial advisors, Registered Investment Advisors and consultants, and identify mid-market development opportunities.

"The Hartford has been building its considerable capabilities to serve the middle market for some time, including three strategic acquisitions that expanded our scale and core competencies," said Sharon Ritchey, executive vice president and director of The Hartford's Retirement Plans Group. "We've added new technology capabilities, new product solutions for both defined contribution and defined benefit plans, and new leadership to help us accelerate growth."

In September, The Hartford is launching a series of forums for advisors that will unveil new research on retirement plan sponsors' and participants' evolving needs, and new approaches in meeting them. The forums, "A Dose of Reality: Strong, No Sugar," will consist of practice management modules and insights into The Hartford's new middle-market initiatives. The seminars will take place in Boston, Atlanta, Irving, Texas, and San Francisco. Diana and other executives from The Hartford's Retirement Plans Group will be on hand.

The 401k Exchange recently ranked The Hartford among the top five providers for its "Investment Services" category as well as its "Record Keeping and Administrative Services" category for defined contribution retirement plans with $10 million to $100 million in assets under management. The "Mid-Year 2010 401k Exchange Ratings and Market Share" report based the rankings on a survey of retirement plan sponsors.

"The Hartford has a tremendous value proposition across the middle market for defined contribution and defined benefit retirement plans," Diana said. "Few retirement plan providers can deliver the range and quality of services that we offer for financial advisors, plan sponsors and participants."

According to Diana, The Hartford's current success and its ability to accelerate future growth in the middle market can be attributed to several key market differentiators:

* Demonstrated ability to support financial advisors in their efforts to meet the retirement plan needs of businesses of every size.

* The flexibility of The Hartford's open architecture investment platform, with no proprietary fund requirements, has proven to be popular for both defined contribution and defined benefit programs.

* Defined benefit record-keeping technology that is better, faster and cheaper than traditional fully outsourced solutions. The Hartford offers cash balance defined benefit plans that complement defined contribution plans, enabling business owners and professionals to significantly enhance their retirement savings contributions.

* Award-winning participant education programs delivered in person, in print and online.

* A concierge service for retirement-specialized advisors, which features a dedicated sales support line, lead generation support, customized proposals, and a fast pass to transition plan sponsors from their current retirement plan provider to The Hartford.

Diana comes to The Hartford with 20 years of experience in the insurance industry, most recently from Transamerica where she was vice president of business development. She has also held key leadership positions at Prudential Retirement and CIGNA.

A graduate of Bryant College where she earned a BS with a concentration in marketing, Diana holds FINRA series 26, 7 and 66 licenses, and a Connecticut Life and Health Producer license.

"The Hartford has established itself as the fastest growing retirement plan provider in the small market and now we're focusing on growing our share of the middle market," Ritchey said.2 "We believe more plan sponsors with assets between $10 million and $100 million will come to realize that The Hartford has the expertise, experience and quality service they need to make their retirement plans as successful as possible."