MassMutual Financial Group has bought control of the sixth-largest mutual fund company in Taiwan.

The Springfield, Mass., insurer, said it bought, with partners, a 68% stake in Fuh Hwa Investment Trust Co. Ltd. The partners are Mercuries & Associates Ltd. and MassMutual Mercuries Life Insurance Co. Ltd. in Taiwan.

Fuh Hwa has more than $4.1 billion of assets under management. The company was established in 1997, and its assets under management more than doubled during the past three years, from $1.6 billion at the end of 2000.

Robert J. O'Connell, MassMutual's chairman, president, and chief executive officer, said in a statement that the deal was a strategic step in the company's plan for international growth.

The insurer entered Taiwan in 2001 when it bought a majority interest in Mercuries Life Insurance. MassMutual International also has operations in Hong Kong, Japan, Chile, Luxembourg and Bermuda.

Management and key employees of Fuh Hwa are to remain with the company. Additional specific terms of the agreement were not disclosed. MassMutual Financial Group had $285 billion of assets under management at Dec. 31.

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