NU Online News Service, July 1, 12:03 p.m. – ING Funds, Scottsdale, Ariz., a unit of ING Groep N.V., Amsterdam, is starting a “principal protected” mutual fund, the ING Principal Protection Fund IV.

The new ING fund will guarantee the investor’s principal, after loads and expense charges are deducted, if the investor keeps all assets and dividends in the fund for at least five years.

A three-month offering period for the new mutual fund begins today and runs through Sept. 30. The fund will be open to investors only during the three-month offering period, ING says.

ING says it has attracted about $2 billion in assets during the offering periods for the three other Principal Protection Funds series funds.

MBIA Insurance Corp., Armonk, N.Y., is backing the principal guarantee.

The five-year guarantee period will run from Oct. 8, 2002, through Oct. 8, 2007. Because the principal guarantee does not protect investors who cash in early, investors who cash in early could lose money, ING says.

At the end of the guarantee period, investors can keep their cash invested in the mutual fund, roll assets into other ING funds, or take out the cash, ING says.

One ING unit, ING Investments L.L.C., will be the fund’s advisor, and another ING unit, Aeltus Investment Management Inc., Hartford, will be the investment sub-advisor.