Principal Financial Group

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The Principal Financial Group
S&P 500 Component
IndustryInsurance, Financial Services
FounderEdward Temple
711 High St.
Des Moines, IA
Area served
Key people
Daniel Houston (CEO)
ProductsThe Principal is a global investment management leader offering retirement services, insurance solutions and asset management.[1]
IncreaseUS$1.1 Billion [1]
IncreaseUS$ 879.7 million (2013) (available to common stockholders) [1]
AUMIncreaseUS$ 692.4 billion (2017)[1]
Number of employees
14,600 (March 2014)[1]

The Principal Financial Group is a global financial investment management and insurance company headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa.

The Principal Financial Group (Principal) offers businesses individuals and institutional clients a wide range of financial products and services including retirement, asset management and insurance, through its diverse family of financial services companies. Principal has offices in 18 countries throughout Asia, Australia, Europe, Latin America and North America. As of March 31, 2014, The Principal Financial Group had $496 billion in total assets under management and serves some 19.2 million customers worldwide.[2]

As of 2018, Principal was ranked 210th on Fortune magazine's list of the 500 largest U.S. corporations by revenue.[3] In 2013, Principal earned the top spot in its category for the second year in a row of Pensions & Investments' annual survey of "Best Places to Work" in Money Management. In 2013, Principal ranked 528th on the Forbes Global 2000 list, which recognizes the world's biggest and most powerful companies, as measured by a composite ranking for sales profits, assets and market value (as of April 2013).


Founding and early history[edit]

  • 1879 - Bankers Life Association was founded on July 1, 1879 by Edward Temple, a banker from Chariton, Iowa, and five other colleagues. At first, Bankers Life Association provided life insurance (in the form of memberships) to men between the ages of 22 and 55, they had to be in good health and not be employed in any occupation that was considered high-risk. Insurance benefits would also not be awarded if unintentional death was caused by harmful consumption of alcoholic beverages, or the irresponsible use of drugs.
  • 1882 - The number of memberships required the hiring of the association's first employee, John Tibbs, who acted as a General Agent.
  • 1889 - Bankers Life Association had $29 million of life insurance memberships in effect. This required the association to relocate its operations to the Equitable Building in Des Moines, Iowa. Costs were kept at frugal standards. Temple's salary increased to $6,000 in 1890, which was considerably lower than salaries offered by similar businesses.
  • 1909 - After the death of Edward Temple, the Board of Directors voted to reorganize the business into a mutual life insurance company. George Kuhns became president of the company, he employed the use of direct-mail advertising to reach new markets. This brought in $3 million in new sales within the first year.

  • 1925 - The company acquired a small, 500-watt radio station, WHO, with a broadcast range of 150 miles (240 km). George Kuhns saw this tool as a way to increase sales. Bankers Life ran WHO until 1930.
  • 1930 - Prior to the Great Depression, the company was closing in on the $1 billion landmark. The 50th anniversary, which was scheduled to take place on June 1929, was postponed until January 6, 1930. President Gerard Nollen gave a $10 gold piece to every person in attendance as a token of his optimism about the future of the economy.
  • 1939 - Continued growth required the company to relocate its operations to a larger facility. A building was constructed at 711 High Street to house the offices, it was the first building in Des Moines to be fully air-conditioned.
  • 1941 - The company issued its first group health insurance contract. Within the next five years, group health insurance accounted for a third of the business.
  • 1962 - The company ended its policy of terminating new mothers, instead offering them part-time work. They could work from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. between the months of September to June, while their kids were at school.

Name Change and Expansion[edit]

Principal's former logo, used from 1998 to 2016.
  • 1985 - The Bankers Life Company became The Principal Financial Group.
  • 1990s - The company expanded to markets outside of the United States, including Brazil, China, Chile, Hong Kong, India and Mexico.
  • October 23, 2001 - The company filed its initial public offering and became a publicly traded corporation.
  • February 28, 2008 - Nippon Life Insurance announced that it would increase its stake in Principal from 4.3% (11.29 million shares) to 7%, making it the largest single stakeholder. The move was said to reduce the likelihood of a hostile takeover.

Principal Financial Group in Hong Kong

Business operations[edit]

Four segments comprise the company: Retirement and Income Solutions, Principal Global Investors, Principal International, and U.S. Insurance Solutions.

The company employs roughly 9,000 people in Des Moines, Iowa, and owns and operates several buildings in the downtown area, the tallest, known as 801 Grand, is 45 stories tall (192m/630 ft),[4] and houses many other companies in addition to The Principal.

As of March 2014, Principal employed 14,600 employees worldwide, with its Global Delivery center, Principal Global Services, in Pune, Maharashtra, India.[5]

Principal also has a lobbyist registered in the Iowa Legislature since 2016 December, he is designated to lobby the Executive Branch of the Government of Iowa.[6]


Eddie was the lead and central character in the marketing campaign of the Principal Financial Group from 2005 to 2015. Eddie’s television and print ads often depicted him facing challenges and using the Principal Edge logo to solve his financial, business, and everyday life problems. Eddie retired in late 2015 in preparation for the company's new logo that debuted in 2016. [7]

Naming rights[edit]

The Principal owns the naming rights to Principal Riverwalk, Principal Park and The Principal Charity Classic in Des Moines.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-11-05. Retrieved 2014-11-04.
  2. ^ "2012 Company Profile" (PDF). The Principal Financial Group Company profile. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 May 2013. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  3. ^ "Fortune 500 Companies 2018: Who Made the List". Fortune. Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  4. ^ Emporis Building Listing for 801 Grand.
  5. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-05-21. Retrieved 2012-05-21.
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Even Cartoon Guys Plan for Retirement: The Principal Financial Group Bids Farewell to "Eddie" with Launch of #SeeYourRetirement Campaign". Principal Financial Group. Retrieved 2016-04-14.

External links[edit]