] may be getting out of the proprietary mutual fund business. Bloomberg
's Andrew Frye and Zachary Mider report
that the Hartford, Connecticut-based publicly-traded insurer is hunting for buyers for its U.S. mutual fund unit, which works with about $104 billion (as of March 31, 2011) in 51 funds and boasted net income of $132 million last year.
David Snowden, a spokesman for the Hartford, declined to comment for this story, citing a company policy regarding "market rumors and speculation." The MFWire
could not immediately Hartford mutual fund chief Jim Davey
Citing four anonymous sources, Bloomberg names Goldman Sachs
as Hartford's bankers for the deal and claims the unit could sell for $1.5 billion (i.e. more than 1.44 percent of AUM or 11.36 times net income) or more. The wire service did not name any possible bidders.
A spokeswoman for Goldman declined to comment for this story. The MFWire
could not immediately reach a spokesperson UBS for comment.
The equity portion of Hartford's funds is subadvised by institutional asset management giant Wellington Management
, while the fixed income and asset allocation portion is subadvised by a separate Hartford unit, Hartford Investment Management Company. It's unclear whether or not that unit would be included in any sale.
The move follows several changes for Hartford's mutual fund business. Last year Davey (formerly head of retirement at Hartford) took over the U.S. and Canadian mutual fund and 529 business, and Hartford sold its $1.7 billion, 18-fund Canadian mutual fund business to CI Financial Corp
. Then Keith Sloane
, senior vice president of mutual funds and 529s for three years, left the firm at the end of 2010. Davey reports to David Levenson, who took over the wealth management division of Hartford in July. (Wealth management includes annuity, life insurance and retirement plan business, as well as mutual funds.)
Neil Anderson, Managing Editor
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