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March 1, 2001

Fortis Traders Hit the Road

By Sanford Wexler

Fortis Financial Group's buyside traders have been fired following the firm's purchase by Hartford Financial Services Group.

Sam Toy, head trader at Woodbury, Minn.-based Fortis, said he will also be pounding the pavement. "I am looking for a job," he said. "I'll be leaving when [Hartford] closes the deal."

Hartford, one of the nation's largest insurance and financial service companies, snapped up Fortis Financial Group for $1.2 billion in cash. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter.

With the acquisition of Fortis, a firm with 950 employees and $11 billion in assets (including $4 billion of 38 mutual fund assets) Hartford will now manage some $194 billion in assets.

This is the second largest acquisition in Hartford's history. Last June it acquired the remaining part of Hartford Life it did not own for $1.3 billion. Hartford employs about 25,000 nationwide, including 10,700 in Connecticut.

On the headcount side, a Hartford spokesman said "it is hard to speculate" on numbers.

A spokesman for Fortis said Hartford "will no longer need an internal equity department after the sale is completed." The number of trading staff eliminated is put at 12. That includes portfolio managers, traders and support staff at Fortis.

Hartford conducts its trading through Wellington Management Company in Boston. A trader at Wellington who answered the phone declined to comment on Hartford's future arrangements.