Principal Financial Group

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Principal Financial Group, Inc.
Type Public
Traded as NYSEPFG
S&P 500 Component
Industry Finance and Insurance
Founded Des Moines, Iowa USA, (1879)
Headquarters Des Moines, Iowa USA
Key people Larry Zimpleman Chairman & CEO; Edward Temple -- founder
Products Banking
Life Insurance
Mutual Funds
Retirement Plans
Revenue IncreaseUS$ 9.2 billion (2012)[1]
Operating income Increase US$ 959.40 Million (2012)[1]
Net income Increase US$ 805.90 Million (2012)[1]
Total assets Increase US$ 367.1 billion (2010)[1]
Total equity Increase US$ 10.01 billion (2010)[1]
Employees 12,900 (03/30/2012)[2]

Principal Financial Group is a global financial services company headquartered in the capital city of Des Moines, Iowa.

Principal Financial Group (The Principal) provides a wide range of financial services including retirement planning, insurance, and investment and banking products through offices in 18 countries throughout Asia, Australia, Europe, South America and North America. As of March 30, 2012, Principal Financial Group has $364.1 billion in assets under management and serves some 17.3 million customers worldwide.[2]

In 2011, Principal was ranked 268th on Fortune magazine’s list of the 500 largest U.S. corporations (May 2011),[2] and has been described as one of the "world's most ethical companies". In 2003, it just made Fortune's list of the 100 best companies to work for, in 100th place, and rose to #17 in 2009, but hasn't been on the list since then (as of 2013).[3] Also in 2009 it first appeared on Ethisphere’s list of the world's most ethical companies, and again in 2010, but not since then.[4]


Founding and early history[edit]

  • 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.
801 Grand, the centerpiece of the Principal campus in Des Moines, Iowa
  • 1925 - The company acquired a small, 500-watt radio station, WHO, with a broadcast range of 150 miles (240 km). 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.

Name Change and Expansion[edit]

  • 1985 - The Bankers Life Company became Principal Financial Group (PFG).
  • 1990s - The company expanded to markets outside of the United States. Such markets include Brazil, China, Chile, Hong Kong, India, and Mexico.
  • October 23, 2001 - The company filed their initial public offering and became a publicly traded corporation.
  • 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.
Principal Financial Group in Hong Kong

Business operations[edit]

The company is composed of six business units: 'International Operations', 'Retirement & Investments', 'Global Asset Management', 'Insurance', 'Wellness', and 'Banking'.

The company has been named one of the Fortune 100 best companies to work for during the past seven consecutive years (2003–2009), along with other awards:

  • AARP’s Best Employers for Workers Over 50 (2001–2006)
  • Top 50 Companies for Executive Women (March 2011)
  • 100 Best Places to Work in IT (June 2011) by Computerworld magazine
  • Named among Working Mother magazine's 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers.(September 2010)
  • Ranked 33rd in Top 500 Most Innovative Users of Information Technology (2009)

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 45 stories tall (192m/630 ft),[5] and houses many other companies in addition to The Principal.

As of 2012, The Principal employed 13,373 employees worldwide.[6]


Eddie is the lead and central 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.[7]

Naming rights[edit]

Principal owns the naming rights to Principal Riverwalk, Principal Park, and the Principal Charity Classic in Des Moines.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "2010 Form 10-K, PRINCIPAL FINANCIAL GROUP". United States Securities and Exchange Commission. 
  2. ^ a b c "2012 Company Profile". The Principal Financial Group Company profile. Retrieved 21 May 2012. 
  3. ^ The 100 Best Companies To Work For. Accessed 2013-08-31
  4. ^ WME Honorees. Accessed 2013-08-31
  5. ^ Emporis Building Listing for 801 Grand.
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Hello, Hi We'd like you to meet someone.". Principal Financial Group. Retrieved 2007-09-18. 

External links[edit]