Des Moines, Iowa (Dec. 23, 2002) -- The Principal Financial Group, a provider of 401(k) plans, announced that it will acquire Appleton, Wisc.-based Benefit Consultants Inc. (BCI Group), a consulting, actuarial and administration firm that specializes in the administration of employee stock ownership plans.

Financial details were not disclosed. The agreement is expected to close in January.

"A key part of our strategy is to seek acquisitions that add scale to our existing retirement plan business, while providing a complete product continuum for our clients," said Daniel J. Houston, senior vice president, The Principal. "BCI's business complements our focus on growing companies and institutional clients, enhancing our ESOP and defined benefit capabilities and allowing us to continue to respond to increasing demand."

BCI Group has 90 employees and services more than 500 clients nationwide.

The Principal Financial Group has $117.4 billion in assets under management and serves 13 million customers from offices in Asia, Australia, Europe, Latin America and the United States.

-- Electronic Accountant Newswire staff

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