The Hartford on Tuesday announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to sell Woodbury Financial Services to American International Group, Inc. The transaction is expected to generate a modest gain for The Hartford and have no material impact to The Hartford's 2013 earnings. The agreement is expected to close by the end of 2012, subject to regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions.
"Today's agreement is the first of three planned transactions announced in March as part of The Hartford's strategic decision to focus on its property and casualty, group benefits and mutual funds businesses," said The Hartford's Chairman, President and CEO Liam E. McGee. "Woodbury Financial is one of the most respected broker-dealers in the United States. The firm will transition to a buyer who recognizes the strengths of the business and the talent of the people, and is committed to the independent financial advisor." The sales process for Individual Life and Retirement Plans is proceeding as expected.
"We are excited to add Woodbury Financial Services, a well-respected broker-dealer with a distinct brand, to Advisor Group," said Advisor Group's Chief Executive Officer Larry Roth. "We look forward to working with Woodbury Financial's management team to help its advisors grow their practices and are confident that Woodbury Financial will add value to Advisor Group's broker-dealer network and strategic partners."
Patrick H. McEvoy will continue to serve as Woodbury Financial Services' President and CEO, and the firm will be operated as one of four independent broker-dealers in the Advisor Group network. The inclusion of Woodbury Financial within Advisor Group will benefit advisors from all four broker-dealers, as well as Woodbury Financial's customers, as the network shares retirement planning best practices, technologies and business building strategies. McEvoy will continue to work with his senior management team, field force, and home office staff to support and grow the Woodbury Financial business from its Minnesota headquarters. The change in ownership will cause no disruption for Woodbury's registered representatives, who can continue to operate under the Woodbury Financial brand.
"Woodbury Financial and Advisor Group are a natural fit, with complementary business models and a shared view of providing an open architecture platform for advisors within the independent broker-dealer segment," said McEvoy. "The firm and our registered reps are uniquely positioned to provide the solutions many of today's investors need and we plan to leverage this expertise across the Advisor Group network."
Woodbury Financial Services, a top 15 independent broker-dealer based in Minnesota with approximately 1,400 registered representatives, was named Broker-Dealer of the Year in 2006, 2009 and 2011 by Investment Advisor magazine. The company received the award from among the nation's largest firms (over 1,000 registered representatives).
The Hartford's financial advisor was Deutsche Bank and its legal advisor was Sutherland Asbill & Brennan.
About The Hartford
The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. (NYSE: HIG) is a leading provider of insurance and wealth management services for millions of consumers and businesses worldwide. The Hartford is consistently recognized for its superior service, its sustainability efforts and as one of the world's most ethical companies. More information on the company and its financial performance is available at www.thehartford.com.
About Woodbury Financial Services
Woodbury Financial Services, Inc., a subsidiary of The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. is a broker-dealer with approximately 1,400 independent representatives nationwide and 200 home office employees. The firm is headquartered in Oakdale, Minn. For more information, visit www.woodburyfinancial.com/about.