HARTFORD, Conn.-- The Hartford Financial Services Group along with Ibbotson Associates, recently surveyed investors and found that eight out of 10 investors indicated that they are practicing asset allocation. However, when asked to describe what they believe asset allocation is, the majority describe simple "diversification" of assets rather than true asset allocation.

The survey also found that there was a strong relationship between familiarity with asset allocation and investor sophistication and success. Those who claim to be most familiar with asset allocation tend to have greater invested assets and believe that their investments have exceeded expectations.

Following this research, The Hartford has introduced The Hartford Allocation Funds. These five asset allocation "fund of funds" are managed with input from Ibbotson Associates and are designed to provide investors with a simple plan to help achieve their goals through asset allocation. This input is analyzed by the managers who make the final asset allocation decisions. A key feature of these products is that they will be rebalanced quarterly in order to stay true to the fund's objective.

"With these new funds, advisors can offer their mutual fund clients the benefits of asset allocation with premier money management in an easy-to-use program," said Bruce Ferris, senior vice president of sales and marketing for investment products.

The Hartford's new asset allocation product follows the November 2003 introduction of Portfolio Planner, an asset allocation feature for its variable annuity products. The Hartford also works with Ibbotson on Portfolio Planner.

"For the long-term investor, asset allocation is the primary determinant of returns," said Mary Jane Fortin, senior vice president for mutual funds and 529 programs. "Developing the right asset allocation plan based on risk tolerance and investment horizon and then sticking to that plan with appropriate and timely rebalancing, increases the chances that an individual will meet his or her goals."

The addition of these new funds broadens The Hartford Mutual Fund family to 39 stock, bond, and money market funds. The Hartford has over $22 billion in total mutual fund assets (as of March 31, 2004).  This represents about 8 percent of the company's assets under management.

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