Not surprisingly in the asset management business these days, companies that once thought they could do it all are now returning to their core businesses and product lines.

The latest one to admit defeat was Seattle-based Safeco Corp., which is selling its Life & Investments (L&I) division in order to recommit solely to property and casualty, homeowners and automotive insurance lines. The L&I division encompasses Safeco's mutual funds, annuities, life insurance, employee benefits and medical insurance products sold through agents, banks and financial advisers.

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