Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. is hoping a team-oriented approach can boost sales, but its effort to align its sales force is a bit too late to be considered innovative.

The Simsbury, Conn., company announced last week it combined sales and distribution for its investment and retirement products into a unit called Hartford Life Distributors. It combines the internal and external sales units, marketing and sales support teams, strategic relationship management groups and business development areas that support Hartford's mutual funds, annuities, 401(k) retirement plans and 529 college savings program.

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