From our CEO
Your decision to invest in Principal® is something I think about every day. It enables us to provide access to financial security for nearly 62 million customers.(View security for nearly 62 million customers) We're helping them build a strong financial future while advancing the financial inclusion conversation around the globe. This is important work we are deeply passionate about.
In 2021, we outlined our strategic path forward—with a focus on higher growth businesses, a more capital efficient portfolio, and a commitment to return more capital to shareholders. This guided our successful execution in 2022. Amid a challenging macroeconomic environment, with rising inflation, foreign exchange headwinds, and market volatility, we made meaningful progress toward our goals. We continued to grow our market leadership in attractive segments, particularly small and midsize businesses (SMBs), delivering differentiated and often integrated solutions to meet their needs.
Relentless focus on our growth drivers
Our strategic review sharpened our focus on higher growth businesses where we have a competitive advantage and identified areas that were becoming commoditized and no longer meeting our financial targets. In May 2022, we closed on transactions to reinsure two blocks of business: U.S. retail fixed annuity and universal life insurance with secondary guarantees. With that important step completed, we were able to go all in on our growth drivers: global asset management, retirement, and benefits and protection.
Expanded asset management capabilities
In October, we launched Principal Asset ManagementSM. Leveraging the strong brand equity of Principal, we’re highlighting our deep local knowledge and global investment capabilities in more than 80 markets serving institutional, retirement, retail, and wealth clients. The launch aligns with investments in our digital client experience and insights program as well as the development of new products and alternative investment capabilities, including model portfolios and direct lending.
In 2022, we continued to develop a broad array of products and solutions, including:
- Strengthening our specialized investment capabilities. The Principal Alternative Credit team doubled its direct lending committed capital in 2022, increasing its foothold in the middle market. Now in its third year of business, the direct lending team has closed transactions representing $1.6 billion of committed capital.
- Adding innovative offerings in global markets. In 2022, we debuted a new Real Estate Investment Trust fund in Mexico. In Malaysia, a multi-year effort led to the launch of Principal RetireEasy funds, a target date fund to aid investors in long-term savings. Both were first of their kind offerings in their respective markets.
- Broadening our capabilities across U.S. product platforms. We continue to expand our offerings across multiple product vehicles that appeal to investors’ desire for more tax efficient and customizable solutions like exchange traded funds (ETFs), separately managed accounts (SMAs), model portfolios, and collective investment trusts (CITs).
This work helped Principal Asset Management deliver client growth and positive net cash flow in 2022. I’m excited about the formal integration of our asset management and Principal International businesses in 2023 as we expand the reach of our global and local investment capabilities and move closer to our clients.
Holistic retirement solutions
We continue as a top three retirement provider(View top three retirement provider) in the U.S. and one of only a few to offer a comprehensive set of retirement solutions—from defined contribution to defined benefit, non-qualified deferred compensation, pension risk transfer, stock plans and equity compensation, trust and custody solutions, and investment management.
Looking ahead, market expansion will help drive growth:
- 401(k)s are incredibly effective at bringing more people into the retirement system. By automating key features like enrollment and deferral increases, we make it easier for people to save for retirement. Over the last year, employment growth and wage inflation—as well as increases in the number of participants deferring, their deferral rates, and company matches—drove a 26% increase in recurring deposits. This increase was further supported by the completion of the Institutional Retirement and Trust acquisition.
- We ended the year with positive net cash flow of $2.2 billion for SMBs in retirement and participant growth of 4%.
- The passing of SECURE 2.0 helps to improve long-term savings and financial security for more Americans. As the legislation takes effect over the next few years, we’re well positioned to act on new opportunities, particularly those with SMBs and startup plans.
- The current macro environment, with rising rates, has increased interest in bank and fixed income solutions. With improved funding levels in pension plans, we see robust opportunity in the pension risk transfer market. In 2022, we helped 68 plan sponsors and nearly 31,000 participants through the risk transfer of $1.9 billion in pension obligations.
Targeted U.S. benefits and protection solutions
SMBs employ more than 46% of American workers,(View more than 46% of American workers) yet they’ve historically been underserved by the industry. Our longstanding commitment to SMBs, expertise within the segment, and market leadership in workplace benefits are largely unmatched.
To weather the tight labor market throughout 2022, SMBs prioritized wages and maintained or expanded benefits to attract and retain employees—and it’s shown in our results.
- Over half of our 11% year-over-year growth in Specialty Benefits premium and fees was driven by net new business, as we balanced winning market share from our competitors with deepening our existing customer relationships.
- After pivoting to focus on the business market with life insurance, business market sales hit a record level, up 73% year over year.
- Customer centricity remains a key focus. Educating and equipping employers with actionable resources helps them drive retention. We're headed in the right direction, as evidenced by our customer feedback and earning the 2022 DALBAR Communications Seal of Excellence, ranking No. 1 for our employer web capabilities and experience.
We’re capitalizing on the intersections of our businesses to drive additional growth and value.”
Mining additional value where our businesses intersect
One of the differentiators that drives our success is the synergistic value of our integrated business portfolio. We’re capitalizing on the intersections of our businesses to drive additional growth and value.
- New capabilities. In 2022, our asset management and retirement businesses worked together to bring new and timely solutions to customers. For instance:
- Pension management and de-risking is a pressing need for employers of all sizes. In 2022, we hired a head of liability-driven investing solutions to further build out our capabilities, driven by our industry-leading pension servicing abilities and deep investment and risk management expertise with pension clients.
- Within variable annuities, we launched new buffer fund investment options to help investors accumulate retirement savings on the upside while buffering against market downturns.
- Better experience. For our SMB customers, we’re in the middle of a multi-year digital transformation to create a combined, seamless digital account experience that reflects their full range of products with Principal. We'll continue adding new features, enabling customers with a constantly improving set of educational, budgeting, and planning resources.
- Deepening relationships. Competitive offerings are driving customers to place more business with Principal. For example, we saw an increase in the percentage of Principal managed assets within new retirement sales in 2022—with growth across all market segments. And business owners continue to tap into both our retirement and insurance expertise. We saw record non-qualified Company Owned Life Insurance sales in 2022 with approximately half from customers who also have a Principal retirement plan.
Successes like these strengthen and deepen our relationship with customers. Our investment in technology and data integration will further enhance the efficiency and relevance of our customer interactions.
Infusing sustainability throughout our business
Our strategy is grounded in our purpose. We are united and inspired by our belief that everyone deserves access to financial security.
- We launched the Global Financial Inclusion Index in 2022 to help us advance the conversation about barriers to greater financial inclusion and bring forward more solutions in the markets we serve.
- We expanded our commitment to sustainable investing through thematic offerings like our Global Sustainable Listed Infrastructure Fund and Global Sustainable Food Strategy.
- We grew our support for SMBs owned by women and people of color. By the end of 2025, we’re working to double the number of diverse SMBs we support through product access, capital access programs, community development, and financial education.
Purpose-led actions helped Principal rise to No. 7 on Barron’s 2022 list of Most Sustainable Companies. For a detailed look at how we weave sustainability throughout our organization to deliver on our public commitments, please see our sustainability report, updated annually at principal.com/sustainability.
In a July 2022 employee survey, 86% of respondents said they continuously learn and try new things—a testament to our focus on learning and experimentation.”
A culture of growth
Our employees are key to executing our strategy. In 2022, we launched automation citizen developer programs to help employees across the organization improve customer experience and transform our business for the future. In a July 2022 employee survey, 86% of respondents said they continuously learn and try new things—a testament to our focus on learning and experimentation.
In that same survey, employees gave consistently strong scores for inclusion, pride in Principal, and their belief that we do the right thing—all coming in at 82%. While employee satisfaction is the best measure of a healthy workplace, we’re proud that our commitment to employees is continually recognized by third parties. See notable 2022 workplace recognitions.
Delivering results for you
Despite volatile markets and uncertain macro conditions, Principal continued to deliver consistently strong results, including:
- Non-GAAP operating earnings for the year totaled $1.7 billion, or $6.66 per diluted share.(View or $6.66 per diluted share)
- Total company net cash flow for the year was $3.9 billion, including $4.4 billion of Principal Global Investors managed net cash flow. This was a very strong result during a period of outflows across the industry.
- We ended 2022 with $635 billion of total company assets under management (AUM). Our assets under administration (AUA) totaled $1.5 trillion at year-end.
Importantly, our three-year total shareholder return is 73%, higher than our peers in both insurance (33%) and asset management (21%).(View asset management) And we returned $2.3 billion to shareholders during the year, delivering on our commitment to right-size and return excess capital.
Maximizing your investment
I’m proud of the ways we’ve maximized your investment in Principal throughout 2022. We have demonstrated strong momentum in a challenging period, a direct result of aligning our core strengths with customer and market needs.
For 143 years, we’ve proven our resilience—meeting customers’ needs and delivering long-term growth in all types of environments. Principal has a proven track record of powering through difficult times and seizing opportunities where we’re uniquely positioned to win. We look forward to what’s ahead.
I greatly value your confidence in Principal and your belief in our ability to deliver on our promises.
Chairman, President, and CEO
Principal Financial Group
Notable recognition of our workplace in 2022
Our 11th consecutive year as one of Pensions & Investments'
Best Places to Work in Money Management,
one of only five firms to appear on the list each year since it began.
Our 21st year as one of the
Best Places to Work in IT,
according to Foundry’s Computerworld, ranking an impressive No. 18.
Our 22nd year as one of Seramount's
Top Companies for Executive Women,
earning us a Seramount Hall of Fame designation.
Our highest ranking yet on Forbes’ list of
America’s Best Employers for Diversity,
appearing at No. 56 of 500 companies.
As of Dec. 31, 2022↩︎
2022 PLANSPONSOR Recordkeeping Survey, July 2022 – measured by DC participants↩︎
U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Advocacy, 2022 Small Business Profile (PDF)↩︎
3-year TSR for PFG stock as of 12/31/2022. Insurance peers include AMP, EQH, LNC, MET, PRU, UNM, VOYA. Asset Management peers include AMG, BK, BEN, IVZ, STT, TROW.↩︎
This report contains forward-looking statements. Actual results may differ materially from the results anticipated in these forward-looking statements. For a complete explanation, and a list of the risks, uncertainties, and factors that could cause or contribute to such material differences, see our forward-looking and cautionary statements.