Nationwide Financial Services has created a business subsidiary to smooth cooperation among its growing distribution channels.

The Columbus, Ohio, underwriter said the new unit, NFS Distributors Inc., will oversee its sales channels to ease the integration of four recent acquisitions.

"As we continue to acquire small companies on the distribution side, it's a place to bring them into the company," said Richard A. Karas, president of the new unit. The move underscores the importance of diversified distribution, he said.

Nationwide was the third-largest underwriter in annuity sales through banks during the third quarter, according to Kehrer Associates, Princeton, N.J.

It distributes insurance through wire houses, independent broker- dealers, financial institutions, pension plans, life insurance specialists, and agents who serve teachers and other public employees.

By improving cooperation, the unit can refine products to serve the needs of several channels, Mr. Karas said.

"Every new channel we go into benefits every other channel," he said.

For instance, products acquired with companies can be offered to bank customers more readily under the new structure. He would not say how many products will be added to its menu.

For the last five years, Mr. Karas has been a senior vice president of sales/financial services. He joined the company as a group life insurance underwriter in 1964.

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