Amcore Financial Inc. of Rockford, Ill., said Wednesday that it is negotiating to acquire a record-keeping company to bolster its 401(k) business.

Wellmark Capital Value, a Des Moines company, would become part of Amcore Investment Group, which manages $4.2 billion of assets. Amcore said the acquisition would let it internalize record keeping instead of using four third-party companies, including Wellmark, for the services.

"The record-keeping relationship with the plan sponsors and participants is critical," said David W. Miles, senior managing director of Investors Management Group, Amcore's investment advisory firm. "To maintain the quality and relationships, we feel we want to have control over all pieces of our offerings."

Investors Management Group, which was bought by Amcore last year, has used Wellmark as its recordkeeper for five years. Amcore administers about $800 million of assets in retirement plans.

Wellmark Capital, which provides record-keeping services for retirement plans with $150 million of assets, is a subsidiary of Wellmark Inc., a mutual insurance company with assets of $900 million and revenues of nearly $1.5 billion.

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