The Principal Financial Group (The Principal) is a global financial services provider which offers a wide range of financial products and services, and is the U.S. leader in 401(k) plans. Headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, the company has more than 18 million customers worldwide. As of December 31, 2006, assets under management exceeded $282 billion. It was ranked 261st on Fortune magazine’s list of the 500 largerst U.S. corporations.
The company is composed of six business units: 'Retirement & Investor Services', 'Global Asset Management and Real Estate', 'International Operations', 'Life, Disability and Group Health Insurance', 'Specialty Benefits and Wellness', and 'Banking'.
The company has been named one of the Fortune 100 best companies to work for during the past four consecutive years, along with other awards:
- AARP’s Best Employers for Workers Over 50 (2001–2006)
- Top 30 Companies for Executive Women (2006)
- 100 Best Places to Work in IT (2003–2006)
- Ranked first in Top 500 Most Innovative Users of Information Technology.
- Ranked No. 130 on Forbes’ Platinum 400 list of America’s Best Big Companies.
The company employs roughly 9,000 people in Des Moines, Iowa, and owns and operates several buildings in the downtown area. The tallest, known as 801 Grand, is 41 stories tall (192m/630ft), and houses many other companies in addition to The Principal. The top two floors are home to a privately owned club named the Embassy Club. Both employees and general members of the club have access to the club for the purpose of general dining as well as dinner parties.
Eddie is the lead character in the current marketing campaign of the Principal Financial Group. Eddie’s television and print ads often depict him facing challenges and using the Principal Edge to solve his financial, business, and everyday life problems.
- 1879 - Bankers Life Association was founded on July 1, 1879 by Edward Temple, a banker from Chariton, Iowa, and five other colleagues. At first, Bankers Life Association provided life insurance (in the form of memberships) to men between the ages of 22 and 55. They had to be in good health and not be employed in any occupation that was considered high-risk. Insurance benefits would also not be awarded if unintentional death was caused by harmful consumption of alcoholic beverages, or the irresponsible use of drugs.
- 1882 - The number of memberships required the hiring of the association's first employee, John Tibbs, who acted as a General Agent.
- 1889 - Bankers Life Association had 29 million dollars of life insurance memberships in effect. This required the association to relocate their operations to the Equitable Building in Des Moines, Iowa. Costs were kept at frugal standards. Temple's salary increased to $6,000 in 1890, which was considerably lower than salaries offered by similar businesses.
- 1909 - After the death of Edward Temple, the Board of Directors voted to reorganize the business into a mutual life insurance company. George Kuhns became president of the company. He employed the use of direct-mail advertising to reach new markets. This brought in 3 million dollars in new sales within the first year.
- 1925 - The company acquired a small, 500-watt radio station, WHO, with a broadcast range of 150 miles. George Kuhns saw this tool as a way to increase sales. Bankers Life ran WHO until 1930.
- 1930 - Prior to the Great Depression, the company was closing in on the 1 billion dollar landmark. The 50th anniversary, which was scheduled to take place on June 1929, was postponed until January 6, 1930. President Gerard Nollen gave a ten dollar gold piece to every person in attendance, as a token of his optimism about the future of the economy.
- 1939 - Continued growth required the company to relocate its operations to a larger facility. A building was constructed on 711 High Street to house the offices. It was the first building in Des Moines to be fully air-conditioned.
- 1941 - The company issued its first group health insurance contract. Within the next five years, group health insurance accounted for a third of the business.
- 1962 - The company ended its policy of terminating new mothers, instead offering them part-time work. They could now work from 9AM to 3PM between the months of September to June, while their kids were at school.
- 1985 - Bankers Life Company became Principal Financial Group.
- 1990s - The company expanded to markets outside of the United States. Such markets include Argentina, Brazil, China, Chile, Hong Kong, India, and Mexico.
- October 23, 2001 - The company filed their initial public offering and became a publicly traded corporation.
- August 5, 2004 - The company purchased the naming rights to Sec Taylor Stadium for $4.5 million.
- December 5 2005 - The company opened its first offshore unit in Pune, India, by the name Principal Global Services,and currently having 523 employees in the Pune office.
- February 28 2008 - Nippon Life Insurance announced that it would increase its stake in Principal from 4.3% (11.29 million shares) to 7%, making it the largest single stakeholder. The move was said to reduce the likelihood of a hostile takeover.
- ↑ Emporis Building Listing for 801 Grand. http://www.emporis.com/en/wm/bu/?id=123036
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- ↑ Template:Cite web