NU Online News Service, March 1, 1:15 p.m. – ING Investments L.L.C., Scottsdale, Ariz., is starting ING Principal Protection Fund III, a mutual fund that courts skittish investors with a five-year period of guarantee of principal.

The offering period for the fund will last from March 1 to May 30, and a quiet period following the offering period will last from May 31 to June 5.

For investors who invest in the fund during the offering period and keep all their assets in the fund until June 5, 2007, ING will guarantee the net asset value of the principal recorded June 5, 2002, after subtracting sales charges and fund expenses.

During the guarantee period, investors pay a fee equal to 0.33% of the fund’s average daily net assets for the guarantee, ING says.

The minimum investment is $1,000.

MBIA Insurance Corp., a unit of MBIA Inc., Armonk, N.Y., is backing the asset guarantee offer.

Two similar funds introduced in mid-2001 and earlier this year have attracted $1.3 billion in assets, ING says.

ING Investments, a unit of the ING Groep N.V., Amsterdam, is distributing the fund through ING Funds Distributor Inc. Aeltus Investments Management Inc., another ING unit, will be the investment sub-advisor. The portfolio managers are Mary Ann Fernandez, Hugh Whelan and Douglas Cote.

Marketing support materials will include advertising templates, statement stuffers and a prospecting letter, ING says.