In its ongoing effort to expand its middle-market defined contribution and defined benefit business, The Hartford has hired Denise Diana as VP, retirement plans mid-market.

Diana was previously vice president of business development at Transamerica, where she worked with broker/dealers, and also served as director, sales effectiveness, at Charles Schwab. Earlier, at Prudential Financial, as VP, channel management, Diana was responsible for nearly $6 billion in sales, including $4 billion over an 18 month period in key adviser bundled retirement relationships, and $1.7 billion in consultant relationships that Diana built from the ground up.

In her new role, the retirement plan specialist is charged with assembling a team of middle market specialists to support financial advisers and registered investment advisers and consultants, as well as to identify new mid-market development opportunities.

Following Diana's hiring at The Hartford, her new initiatives include a series of adviser forums that launch in September, starting with “A Dose of Reality: Strong, No Sugar,” at which The Hartford will present new research on plan sponsors’ and participants’ evolving needs. The company will host these seminars in Atlanta, Boston, Irving, Texas, and San Francisco.

Since 2008, The Hartford has been building out its middle-market business, typically defined as plans with $10 million to $100 million in assets, with the acquisition of: TopNoggin, Princeton Retirement Group and the retirement business of Sun Life Financial, formerly known as MFS Retirement Services.

These deals round out The Hartford’s open architecture offerings, technology capabilities and leadership, commented Sharon Ritchey, executive vice president and director of The Hartford’s retirement plans group. “The Hartford has established itself as the fastest-growing retirement plan provider in the small market, and now we’re focusing on growing our share of the middle market,” Ritchey said.

In addition, Diana noted, The Hartford offers award-winning participant education programs in person, in print and online, as well as a retirement “concierge” service for advisers that features a sales support line, lead generation support, customized proposals and plan transition aid.