After Spinoff, Phoenix Division Staying In Hartford
By DIANE LEVICK | Courant Staff Writer
August 01, 2008
Phoenix Investment Partners will be renamed Virtus Investment Partners when it is spun off by The Phoenix Cos. and has decided to stay in downtown Hartford, the company said Thursday.
Phoenix Investment Partners, the company's struggling asset management business, was looking for a new home in Greater Hartford and had considered the suburbs. It is currently housed at 56 Prospect St. in Hartford, which The Phoenix Cos. is negotiating to sell.
Phoenix said Thursday that it is finalizing a lease for Phoenix Investment Partners in downtown Hartford but wouldn't identify the building.
Joe Fazzino, a company spokesman, said that Phoenix Investment Partners is looking for 30,000 to 40,000 square feet of space and that Virtus will have about 140 employees downtown. The employees are expected to occupy the new location within six to eight months, he said.
The new name Virtus will take effect when The Phoenix Cos. completes the spinoff to its shareholders. That's projected to take place by the end of September, but some analysts have raised doubts because of stock market conditions and disappointing financial results in the asset management unit.
The name Virtus is Latin and connotes integrity, quality and strength, Phoenix said.
Phoenix also introduced the new dark blue and green logo for Virtus on Thursday, which includes the name Virtus rising above a curved line. The "Investment Partners" part of the name is below the line, which is supposed to represent "the ever changing investment horizon of clients," Phoenix said.
The company will re-brand its PhoenixFunds mutual funds as Virtus Mutual Funds, subject to approval of the trustees and directors of the mutual fund board. A complementary logo will be introduced for the institutional business. Each of the company's affiliated investment managers and unaffiliated subadvisers will retain its individual brand.
George R. Aylward, president of Phoenix Investment Partners, will become president and chief executive of Virtus.
The Phoenix Cos. decided to spin off the asset management business because it has dragged down the company's return on equity and Phoenix doesn't want to invest more money in it. The Phoenix Cos. hopes the stock market will look more kindly upon it as a stand-alone life and annuity business after the spinoff.
Phoenix's stock, which debuted in 2001 at $17.50 a share, closed at $9.73 a share Thursday.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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