Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. said April 1 that it would reorganize itself into insurance, annuity, and wealth management businesses. The new wealth management division will oversee retirement savings, income, and estate planning.
According to John Walters, president of wealth management at The Hartford, the company isn’t so much reorganizing its wealth management division as refocusing it. Walters said that The Hartford already has a big wealth management business, with about 10 million customers and $200 billion of assets.
Walters said that what this refocusing would do for wealth management “is spike that out more specifically as a business segment rather than having this housed within Hartford Life,” which in this most recent reorganization “was put in together with our Group Benefits business.”
Part of the impetus behind the reshuffling is the burgeoning population of people 65 years and older. “We think it’s a growth business for a long time because the demographics are in our favor,” Walters said. “We have the product capabilities and we’ve got great distribution relationships, primarily with financial advisors, to go after this business. The biggest growth is going to be in that retiree or near-retiree segment for the next 20 to 30 years.”
The Hartford has also looked at the role RIAs will play in the insurance company’s plans for its wealth management unit. Walters admitted that The Hartford was fairly new at dealing with the RIA market and needed to expand its approach.
“It’s not something we’ve been doing for a long time. So as we put more resources directly to the RIA, we think that’s going to be a growing part of the industry,” Walters said. “But we’ve got to work with them in a more holistic fashion.”
Walters thinks that RIAs will particularly benefit from some of The Hartford’s dedicated products that focus on the wealth management needs of business owners.–Ron Pechtimaldjian