ITT Hartford takes new direction, will open 8 mutual funds in 3 months NTC

June 23, 1996|By BLOOMBERG BUSINESS NEWS

HARTFORD, Conn. -- ITT Hartford Group Inc. wants to duplicate its success in variable annuities when it enters the mutual fund business later this year -- and to do that, it's duplicating some of the annuities.

The nation's seventh biggest property and casualty insurer recently filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to start a series of eight mutual funds. It said it plans to introduce them in the next three months, probably in August.

Six of the eight are clones of the company's variable annuity funds, which resemble mutual funds because they offer investors portfolios of stocks, bonds or a combination. They differ because annuity funds are designed to provide income for retirement.

By moving into mutual funds, ITT Hartford will become the latest insurance company seeking a share of the $3.1 trillion market.

"Insurers have been in and out of the fund business for years," said A. Michael Lipper, president of Lipper Analytical, which tracks fund performance. "Some companies make it and others don't."

ITT Hartford's ace, Lipper said, is that new stock funds will be overseen by Wellington Management Co., which runs its annuity funds. "These funds boast strong long-term records," he said.

ITT Hartford's stock mutual funds include a version of the insurer's biggest variable annuity fund, Advisers, a growth stock fund which has more than $5 billion in assets.

The Boston-based manager will also oversee three other growth stock funds and two growth and income funds, said Joseph Fazzino, a spokesman for ITT Hartford's life insurance unit. All of them are clones except for a new fund that will invest in small companies' stocks, Fazzino said.

ITT Hartford said it will also market two fixed-income funds that its Hartford Investment Management subsidiary will oversee, Fazzino said. One is a money-market fund that's based on a variable annuity fund. The other invest in corporate and government bonds.

Pub Date: 6/23/96

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