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Annuity Distribution Competitors May Join Forces

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NU Online News Service, June 25, 2003, 6:22 p.m. EDT – Wachovia Corp., Charlotte, N.C., a large bank holding company, wants to combine its Campbell, Calif.-based Info-One/VARDS unit with AnnuityNet Inc., Herndon, Va.

The combined company would be called “AnnuityNet/VARDS,” and Shane Chalke, president of AnnuityNet, would be president of AnnuityNet/VARDS, according to a deal announcement released by AnnuityNet and Wachovia’s Wachovia Insurance Agency unit.

David de Gorter, president of Wachovia Insurance, would be the chairman of the combined company, AnnuityNet and Wachovia Insurance say.

AnnuityNet and Info-One have been competing to set up annuity distribution systems.

Combining the companies “will greatly ease the burden on insurance carriers who previously were required to work with both platform vendors in order to offer their products to a broad range of banks and broker-dealers,” AnnuityNet and Wachovia Insurance say.

The deal announcement refers to VARDS’ strength in annuity research and AnnuityNet’s strength in technology.

Wachovia Insurance plans to make a capital contribution to AnnuityNet/VARDS and hold a significant ownership interest in the combined company, AnnuityNet and Wachovia Insurance say.

The companies say they hope to complete the deal early in the third quarter.