American International Group’s SunAmerica unit is seen within the securities distribution industry as the strongest amongst four suitors for Hartford Financial Groups’s broker-dealer arm, Woodbury Financial Services, Inc.
Hartford has placed Woodbury, which has 1,600 registered representatives and financial advisers, up for sale as part of its decision to divest itself of life insurance operations in order to concentrate on property and casualty-related businesses.
Woodbury is based in Woodbury, Minn., and dates to 1910. It has 1,600 affiliated representatives and had more than $230 million in revenue in 2010, according to several sources.
It sells annuities, life insurance, mutual funds, college savings plans unit investment trusts and alternative investments as part of financial planning by the middle-class and wealthy, as well as seniors.
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Larry Mark, a spokesman for AIG’s SunAmerica unit, based in Los Angeles, declined to comment.
Others expressing interest in Woodbury include Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc., LPL Financial LLC, and Centera Financial Group.
A decision as to the purchaser of Woodbury is expected by mid-August.