DES MOINES - The Principal Financial Group said Monday that its board of directors has voted unanimously in favor of a plan to convert from a mutual insurance holding company to a stock company.

That authorizes management to begin demutualization, which involves distributing the value of the company to holders of policies that were in force before March 31, 2000.

Under Iowa insurance law, the plan requires approval by policyholders and the state insurance commissioner. The company said it expects to file the plan with the commissioner and to mail the proposed plan and related materials to eligible policyholders within the next three months. Those policyholders will receive compensation in Principal Financial Group Inc. stock, cash, or policy credits.

The Principal Financial Group offers businesses, individuals, and institutions retirement and investment services, life and health insurance, and mortgage banking. It has $117.5 billion of assets under management.

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