A U.S. financial services giant says it wants to sell retirement savings and retirement income products in European countries with aging populations.

The Simsbury, Conn., life arm of Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., Hartford, says it will start by rolling out annuities in Germany.

Hartford, which plans to enter Germany using its Hartford Life Ltd. unit, hopes to get the regulatory approvals it needs to proceed by March 31, 2009.

Germans have about $5.8 trillion in assets, including $2.8 trillion in cash, and projections indicate that one-third of the German population will be 60 or older by 2025, Hartford says.

The annuities sold in Germany will come with a guaranteed minimum withdrawal benefit feature that should appeal to risk-averse German investors, Hartford says.

Hartford plans to sell the annuities through independent financial advisors and through banks.

“Hartford is in the process of lining up distributors, building its support infrastructure, and hiring support staff,” the company says.