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ING to Sell Three B/Ds

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ING said in early November that it agreed to sell three of its U.S. independent retail broker-dealer units, with about three-quarters of FAs in the ING Advisors Network, to Lightyear Capital LLC.

“This is a great investment for Lightyear,” says Lightyear Chairman and CEO Donald B. Marron. “Financial Network, Multi-Financial and PrimeVest are excellent organizations with teams of highly-motivated and talented advisors.”

Marron was the chairman and CEO of Paine Webber from 1980 to 2000.

Mark Vassallo, Managing Partner of Lightyear, stated, “We believe there is a great opportunity for these three firms going forward as an independent network and are committed to growing the business.”

“We are seeing more customers and advisors migrate toward smaller, more nimble and personalized brokerage firms, and we believe these three businesses will benefit from this trend,” adds Vassallo.

Financial Network, Multi-Financial and PrimeVest had combined gross revenues for the 12 months ending June 30, 2009, of about $653 million with account assets of $70.2 billion and roughly 5,700 representatives.

As part of the deal, ING Brokers Network LLC, the holding company and back-office shared services supporting those broker dealers, will also be sold, according to ING.

Valerie Brown, CEO of ING Advisor Network, will remain in her position and continue to lead the business post acquisition.

ING will retain ING Financial Advisers, Inc., of Windsor, Conn., and ING Financial Partners, Inc., of Des Moines, Iowa. ING says that it chose to retain these broker-dealers because they are closely-affiliated and play a key role in ING’s strategy in the U.S.

“This transaction simplifies ING’s structure in the U.S., and allows us to focus resources and capital on our core retirement services, life insurance and rollover annuity businesses,” says Tom McInerney, member of the Management Board Insurance of ING Group. “We believe that Lightyear will be an outstanding owner of these broker-dealers and be able to ensure a promising future for these businesses.”

Lightyear, a private equity firm that specializes in investing in financial services companies, manages some $3 billion in committed capital.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to be closed in the first quarter of 2010.