Pilgrim Funds and Aetna Funds have completed the process of re-branding the firms’ products under the ING Funds moniker.

Both companies were acquired in 2000 as part of Amsterdam-based ING Group’s purchase of ReliaStar Financial and Aetna Financial. The combined companies now make up ING U.S. Financial Services.

ING officials said the re-branding is intended to help the company build a stronger brand at a time when markets have soured and mutual fund companies increasingly struggle to gain market share. "Today’s mutual fund marketplace is more competitive than ever, and on the heels of an extended bear market, investors have become more discerning and cautious about how they allocate their investment assets," said Jim Hennessy, ING Investments’ CEO.

The company hopes the re-branding will enable "both organization’s sales forces to perform more efficiently with virtually no changes for customers," according to a statement issued this morning by ING.

"It is important that ING’s key business units operate under one strong unified brand," said Tom McInerney, the CEO of ING U.S. Financial Services. "Now we can focus on building a powerful brand that resonates with investors."

The changes affect all of those organizations’ mutual funds and variable annuity sub-accounts.

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