ING U.S. Retirement Services: 2009 Year in Review
As 2009 winds to a close, ING’s U.S. Retirement Services announced an overview of its business highlights from the past year, as well as a number of priorities and goals it will be focused on for 2010.
“This past year was highlighted by strong client retention and a continued leadership position in sales -- a clear demonstration that customers have confidence in our value proposition,” said Catherine Smith, CEO of ING U.S. Retirement Services. “I’m proud of the outstanding work we accomplished to leverage our industry leadership, grow distribution relationships and execute important strategies. Despite the extraordinary market conditions this year, we’ve been focused more than ever on our business and continue to lead the way in helping American workers plan for their retirement.”
Executing the CitiStreet Integration
One of ING’s primary initiatives in 2009 involved the integration of the former CitiStreet LLC business, which ING purchased in July 2008. This successful effort brought the two companies together in 2009 as one cohesive retirement services firm.
A particular emphasis was placed on leveraging the former CitiStreet’s robust technology platform for its institutional clients down market to benefit ING’s small and mid-sized corporate customers.
To date, all technology upgrades and integration projects for 2009 have been completed, and several more remain on schedule for next year.
Another measure of success was ING’s expanded footprint in the defined contribution industry. With its combined businesses, ING’s U.S. Retirement Services ranked among the top three plan providers and record keepers in the country, with more than 52,000 plan sponsors, approximately 7 million plan participants, and over $235 billion in combined assets under management and administration.1 The business is now uniquely positioned to serve all sizes and segments of the market – corporate, education, government, healthcare and not-for-profit.
“From pure record-keeping services to a full service investment provider, ING is one of the few companies with a scaled leadership presence across the entire spectrum and the ability to offer retirement solutions for any size or type of employer,” noted Smith.
Growth and Focus in the Corporate Markets
In the institutional corporate market (plans with more than $150 million in assets), ING continued to deliver on more than eight years of consecutive growth. At the end of the third quarter, customer retention and new business relationships in this segment accounted for more than $5.5 billion in 401(k) plan assets and nearly 570,000 plan participants. Large plan sponsors benefitted from customized support and award-winning communication and education programs, including a series of global participant web casts and the expansion of online, personalized media initiatives.
Several of ING’s largest 401(k) customers extended their relationships this year to incorporate additional value-added offerings such as the ING Advisor Service, a professional investment advice and managed accounts service, and ING’s Taking Control suite of solutions to help employees navigate the complexities of workplace transitions.
In the intermediary corporate market (plans with less than $150 million in assets), ING maintained its #2 sales position at the end of the third quarter for plans with less than 500 participants.2
Sales in this segment were bolstered by a new channel management distribution strategy and the technology synergies from ING’s institutional market. Product offerings included the launch of ING’s mid market Framewor(k), a customizable solution that features the benefits of open architecture, competitive pricing and fee transparency with a comprehensive suite of services.
ING also underscored its commitment to sponsors and distribution partners with a number of programs and technology investments. These included a new simplified product structure, an on-demand plan reporting system, the roll out of enhanced capabilities for the third party administrator (TPA) community and a new electronic payroll administration tool that connects to ING’s recordkeeping system.
“Our continued strong presence in all segments of the corporate market reflects our deep commitment to customers and business partners,” said Richard Mason, president of Corporate Markets for ING U.S. Retirement Services. “We see tremendous opportunity in focusing on all portions of the 401(k) market allowing us to leverage our talent, resources and capabilities."
Continued Leadership in the Public Markets
For nearly four decades, ING has been a leader in the education market, helping teachers and academic professionals plan for their retirement. As of third quarter, ING ranked #1 in the K-12 market based on plan participants and sales, extending its leading sales ranking for the 25th consecutive quarter.3
ING also elevated its long-standing commitment to the higher education and healthcare markets with the introduction of a new business development team focused on strengthening relationships with existing customers and proactively forging new partnerships.
Building on its education leadership, ING remained at the forefront of helping school officials navigate the new IRS 403(b) regulations with supportive tools and innovative resources. At the end of the third quarter, 10% of all K-12 public school districts across the country had signed up for ING's pioneering planwithease.com® administration and compliance platform. In addition, the online ING Educator's Direct 403(b) Program gained traction in the state of Delaware, where it launched to employees at 39 institutions. To date, market share has grown significantly for new enrollments, and ING is planning to expand access to other states.
In the government market, small and mid-sized plan sales were strong, and several new large plans representing $4.5 billion in assets under administration were successfully transitioned over to ING. New innovations included a flexible payroll tracking and reporting system designed for complex plans, while a focus for next year will be on developing fully customizable and educational participant microsites and resources dedicated to the support of retirees.
“ING's many years of focusing on the 403b and 457 marketplace are paying substantial dividends as we head into 2010,” said Brian Comer, president of Public Markets for ING U.S. Retirement Services. “Going forward, our goals will be focused on education, advocacy and new technologies that can continue to improve the experience for our sponsors and customers.”
Innovation, Opportunities and Continued Investments in the Business
Despite the challenging economy, ING’s U.S. Retirement business continued to invest in new solutions and innovative approaches to retirement savings. This past year, the ING Institute for Retirement Research published a number of new studies and reports to help sponsors and participants broaden their understanding of the defined contribution landscape.
The business also launched several pioneering web-based tools to assist customers with determining if they are on track to achieve their retirement objectives. These include www.INGCompareMe.com, a financial tool that leverages the power of “peer comparison” and My Retirement Outlook, a retirement and paycheck analysis tool that integrates traditional pension plan assets, Social Security benefits and personal savings.
In addition, ING broadened its commitment to the multicultural retirement market this year. This effort has included expanding ING’s U.S.-wide multicultural sales team with talent from its Latin American operations, developing financial literacy and education programs for Hispanic and African-American employees and exploring new strategic alliances to better meet the retirement savings needs of various multicultural communities.
“This past year, we generated significant momentum and demonstrated ING’s strong commitment to customers and stakeholders in all our market segments,” added Smith. “Looking ahead to 2010, we’ll continue to make creative investments in the business and take innovative approaches to grow even further as we meet the needs of this dynamic marketplace.”
1. Pensions & Investments, July 27, 2009.
2. LIMRA International 401(k) Scorecard survey, Q3 2009.
3. LIMRA International Not For Profit Markets Survey, Q3 2009.
Joe Loparco, ING Americas, 860-580-2677
ING is a global financial institution of Dutch origin offering banking, investments, life insurance and retirement services. As of 30 September 2009, ING served more than 85 million private, corporate and institutional clients in more than 40 countries. With a diverse workforce of about 110,000 people, ING is dedicated to setting the standard in helping our clients manage their financial future.
In the U.S., the ING (NYSE: ING) family of companies offers a comprehensive array of financial services to retail and institutional clients, which includes life insurance, retirement plans, mutual funds, managed accounts, alternative investments, direct banking, institutional investment management, annuities, employee benefits, financial planning, and reinsurance. ING holds top-tier rankings in key U.S. markets and serves approximately 30 million customers across the nation. For more information, visit www.ing.com/US.
Insurance products, annuities and funding agreements issued by ING Life Insurance and Annuity Company (“ILIAC”), One Orange Way, Windsor, CT 06095, or annuity products are issued by ReliaStar Life Insurance Company, each of which is solely responsible for meeting its obligations. Plan administrative services are provided by ILIAC or ING Institutional Plan Services, LLC. All companies are members of the ING family of companies. Securities distributed by or offered through ING Financial Advisers, LLC (member SIPC) or other broker-dealers with which it has a selling agreement. Only ILIAC is admitted and its products offered in the State of New York.
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Certain of the statements contained herein are statements of future expectations and other forward-looking statements. These expectations are based on management's current views and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties. Actual results, performance or events may differ materially from those in such statements due to, among other things, (i) general economic conditions, in particular economic conditions in ING's core markets, (ii) performance of financial markets, including developing markets, (iii) the implementation of ING’s restructuring plan to separate banking and insurance operations, (iv) changes in the availability of, and costs associated with, sources of liquidity, such as interbank funding, as well as conditions in the credit markets generally, including changes in borrower and counterparty creditworthiness, (v) the frequency and severity of insured loss events, (vi) mortality and morbidity levels and trends, (vii) persistency levels, (viii) interest rate levels, (ix) currency exchange rates, (x) general competitive factors, (xi) changes in laws and regulations, (xii) changes in the policies of governments and/or regulatory authorities, (xiii) conclusions with regard to purchase accounting assumptions and methodologies, (xiv) changes in ownership could affect the future availability to us of net operating loss, net capital loss and built-in loss carryforwards, and (xv) ING's ability to achieve projected operational synergies. ING assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking information contained in this document.