ING Sells Three B/Ds, Keeps Retirement-Focused B/Ds

ING has reached an agreement to sell three of its U.S. independent retail broker/dealer units—which make up three-quarters of the ING Advisors Network—to Lightyear Capital LLC.

After shopping around its B/D business for months, ING found a buyer in Lightyear, a private equity firm that specializes in investing in financial services companies.

The companies to be acquired are Financial Network Investment Corporation, based in El Segundo, California; Multi-Financial Securities Corporation,
based in Denver, Colorado; PrimeVest Financial Services, Inc., based in St. Cloud, Minnesota; and ING Brokers Network LLC, the holding company
and back-office shared services supporting those broker/dealers, which collectively do business as ING Advisors Network. In 2008, collectively, the broker/dealers had more than 5,000 affiliated independent registered representatives and generated total concession revenue of approximately US $600 million, according to ING.

ING will keep ING Financial Advisers, Inc., based in Windsor, Connecticut, and ING Financial Partners, Inc., based in Des Moines, Iowa. ING said it chose to retain those broker/dealers because they are affiliated with its retirement and insurance business.

“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,” said Tom McInerney, member of the Management Board Insurance of ING Group. “It is also in the best interest of the broker/dealers, their employees, and the affiliated representatives and financial institutions, to find a new ownership structure. We believe that Lightyear will be an outstanding owner of these broker/dealers and be able to ensure a promising future for these businesses.”

Pending regulatory approval, the transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2010.

In other restructuring, last week ING announced that it is moving separate its banking and insurance operations, with McInerney at the head of the insurance operations (see “Van Hassel Named CEO of ING Investment Unit”).