ING on a voyage to change its name, not its color

Insurer close to being spun off in an initial public offering; business to remain the same

By Darla Mercado

Apr 12, 2013 @ 12:32 pm (Updated 12:36 pm) EST

ING, insurance, IPO, retirement, investment
(Bloomberg)

ING U.S. is changing its name but keeping its signature bright orange hue.

The firm's Dutch parent, ING Groep NV, will be spinning off the U.S. unit in an upcoming initial public offering, a move that was set last November.

Under the new moniker, Voya Financial, the company will continue selling insurance, investments and retirement plans. Its broker-dealer, ING Financial Partners, also will undergo a name change that will incorporate Voya, but officials haven't yet determined what exactly that will be, according to ING spokesman Dana Ripley. In the meantime, it's business as usual for the advisers and other distributors, he added.

The company's strategy also will remain the same: Don't expect Voya to make a flashy return to the variable annuities business, which ING hastily exited about three years ago.

“Distributors wanted to know if we were changing the name, did it also mean we were changing the strategy?” said Ann Glover, chief marketing officer of ING U.S. “The answer is no.”

Voya will continue to use the color orange in its materials.

ING chose Voya out of 5,000 possible contenders, including contributions from employees and distributors. Ms. Glover said the firm picked the winner because it was abstract. “It's coined from a real word that's a positive word — voyage,” she said. “And if that has positive connotations, it gets you started on the right foot.”

Apparently, abstract names also make for unique branding.

“These names are easier to protect and own,” Ms. Glover said. “It's an empty vessel we get to fill with what we want it to mean. For us, it's providing good experiences for customers.”