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Monday, May 01, 2006

The Hartford Touts Record MF Sales

by: Marie Glancy

Investment and insurance company The Hartford is celebrating unprecedented sales of its retail mutual fund products. In the first quarter of 2006 the company posted record net income of $728 million, or $2.34 per diluted share, a figure driven largely by brisk sales of mutual fund and retirement products.

The Hartford's retail mutual fund sales hit $2.7 billion during the first quarter this year, with net sales of $1.5 billion exceeding combined net sales for all four quarters of 2005. In announcing the results, The Hartford attributed this marked acceleration to "excellent fund performance and the move to a dedicated wholesaling force in early 2005."

Retail mutual fund assets under management reached $32 billion, an increase of $7 billion from the close of the previous year period.

"The Hartford's strong performance during the quarter demonstrates our unrelenting focus on core markets where we have competitive advantages," said Ramani Ayer, chairman, president and CEO of The Hartford, in a statement. "Clearly, the investments we are making in distribution and developing innovative products are paying dividends."

On the retail side generally, The Hartford's assets under management increased 13 percent from the first quarter of 2005 to $152 billion, while core earnings rose 19 percent, to $176 million. The company's press release noted that core earnings outpaced asset growth due to expense management and a lower effective tax rate. "Stronger than expected net flows and higher equity markets" drove the firm's retail business, according to the release.


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