ING U.S. announced Thursday that it will rename its operations Voya Financial as part of its plans to become an independent company once its Dutch parent, ING Groep, commences an initial public offering of its remaining U.S. operations. ING Financial Partners, the independent broker-dealer, will thus be renamed as well.
The chief marketing officer for ING U.S., Anne Glover (right), said in an interview that the Voya name is a “visual metaphor” for the journey into retirement and is part of ING U.S.’ intent to become “America’s retirement company” through its insurance, retirement and investment operations. The name and the use of the orange color in the Voya logo, familiar to many from ING’s successful marketing efforts, “signals optimism,” said Glover, that consumers “can get their financial futures under control.”
During the financial crisis, ING Groep was forced to seek financial help from the Dutch government, and under a November 2009 restructuring plan with the European Commission, it pledged to sell by the end of this year its insurance and investment management operations, including its online banking operation, ING Direct USA, and ING U.S.
It sold ING Direct USA in February 2012 to Capital One for $9 billion. In December, ING U.S. filed its IPO registration, but ING Groep also was able to extend its planned divestment of ING U.S. from year-end 2013. According to an ING Groep statement, it committed to sell at least 25% of ING U.S. by year-end 2013 and more than 50% by year-end 2014, with the remaining interest divested by year-end 2016.
In 2010, ING Groep completed the sale of three of its four independent broker-dealers (FNIC, Primevest and Multi-Financial) to Lightyear Capital, which used them as the basis for the IBD network Cetera.
In an April 5 filing with the SEC, ING Groep said it intended to raise $600 million from a primary offering, along with a secondary offering of shares, the size of which was not yet determined. ING U.S. also filed a preliminary prospectus with the SEC.
Glover and Dana Ripley, head of corporate communications for ING U.S., declined to comment on any timeline for the IPO, though they did say that ‘VOYA’ would be the independent company’s stock ticker.
Glover said that as part of the rebranding process, ING had successfully “tested the name” with its distributors, partners and end consumers. While some of those partners wondered if the name change signaled a change in business strategy, Glover emphasized that to the contrary it was “business as usual” as the rebranding would take “a number of months.” While ING Financial Partners would be renamed, along with all the ING U.S. legal entities, Ripley said there would be no need to repaper end clients of ING Financial Partners’ advisors, and that ING U.S. was reaching out to its advisors as part of the rebranding process.
Glover expressed confidence that the rebranding would be successful, pointing out that 10 years ago ING U.S. had “zero recognition,” that had grown to “80% brand recognition,” accomplished particularly through its advertisements and television commercials. By the time the renaming and rebranding is complete, she said, “we will flip ING Orange Money to Voya Orange Money.” The process will take time, Glover said, “giving distributors a chance to get used to what we’re doing.”
Read Advisors, Rethink Your Role in Roth IRA Conversions: ING on AdvisorOne.