ING Americas will combine the ING Pilgrim Funds and Aetna Funds next year, said Dreama Briley, a spokeswoman for ING Pilgrim. In 2000, ING acquired both Aetna and ReliaStar Financial Corp., which included the Pilgrim Funds.

The investment managers and distribution companies supporting the funds will all be merged into one operating unit and the funds will take on a common name, Briley said.

"We want to have all of the mutual funds consolidated under one group to maximize the efficiencies of the companies," Briley said.

Currently, there are 39 Pilgrim funds and 19 Aetna funds. There have been proposals for the new fund family name, although no decision has been made. The company is planning to complete the merger by March 1, although that date is not final, said Briley.

The company and fund directors have not made any decisions about actually merging any of the funds, although Briley did say that taking actions like that are under consideration and that the firm continually reviews its products to ensure that there is no overlap.

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