The Hartford came into existence in 1810 as the Hartford Fire Insurance Company. Known for most of its history primarily as an insurance company, the firm began offering mutual funds to investors in 1996 by launching eight equity mutual funds sub-advised by institutional giant Wellington Management. The Hartford is a publicly-traded firm, independent since its parent company ITT Corporation released it in 1995.
In 1997, The Hartford changed its name from ITT Hartford Group, Inc. to The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., reflecting its independence and new commitment to products besides insurance. By 2000, The Hartford Mutual Funds had become the nation's fastest growing retail fund family to reach $10 billion in assets. And in 2002 Hartford expanded into the fixed income business by buying Fortis Funds.
In September 2009, the Hartford formed Hartford Life Distributors, a sales and distribution organization designed to distribute the firm's investment and retirement products. Kevin Connor was tapped to run the new unit, with head of sales for mutual funds, annuities, and 529 plans Bill Wolfe reporting to him.
In April 2010, Hartford Financial Services outlined a new organizational structure that focuses on three business areas, including wealth management, of which the mutual fund business is a part. The other two business areas are commerical markets and consumer markets.
In August 2010, Hartford appointed Jim Davey to run the mutual fund business. The following month, the company promoted Jeff Reiss to national sales manager, reporting to Davey.
Bloomberg reported in May 2011 that Hartford was looking for buyers for its mutual fund subsidiary and hired i-bankers Goldman Sachs and UBS. 1
Hartford reportedly halted the sales process, according to Bloomberg article on September 27, 2011. The insurer was said to be in discussions with private equity firm Clayton Dubilier & Rice LLC. Hartford put a halt to the sales process after banks have scaled back on lending for leveraged buyouts, according to the report. 2 Hartford ultimately sold or consolidated other business lines while holding onto its growing mutual funds business. The mutual fund shop relocated to Radnor, Pennsylvania in 2012.
Though Hartford Funds once used a second sub-advisor, fellow Hartford subsidiary Hartford Investment Management Company (HIMCO), in 2011 the mutual fund shop revealed plans to move all of its sub-advisory work to Wellington.
In March 2012, the Hartford decided to keep its mutual fund business but sell its bundled retirement plans, individual life and Woodbury Financial Services arms. It also decided to keep its property and casualty businesses.As part of its reorganization, the Hartford made Wellington Management Co. the sole sub-advisor for the firm's roughly 60 funds, and move the mutual fund headquarters to Radnor, Pennsylvania.
In 2016, Davey made two big Hartford Funds strategic moves: he bought Lattice Strategies, a strategic beta ETF specialist based in San Francisco; and he took over the U.S. retail mutual fund business of Schroders [profile], a British asset manager, while keeping Schroders on as subadvisor to those funds.