Shawmut National Corp. is planning to team up with the Hartford Life Insurance Co. to create a proprietary variable annuity, according to industry sources.

Shawmut, jointly based in Boston and Hartford, Conn., currently offers annuity products through a program with MDS/Bankmark, a third-party marketing firm based in Morris Plains, N.J.

Pairing up with the Hartford, one of the country's oldest and largest insurance companies, would probably not affect Shawmut's relationship with Bankmark.

The Hartford, which offers both fixed and variable annuities, already provides annuities to Putnam Financial Services.

Shawmut would not discuss details of the deal.

Northern Trust Co. is adding two new international portfolios to its Benchmark mutual funds, according to Mutual Fund Advance, an industry newsletter.

The new portfolios -- an international growth fund and an international bond fund -- will be offered to institutional investors.

Northern Trust, based in Chicago, currently manages $7 billion in mutual fund assets. As reported, it is launching a new line of funds -- the Northern Funds -- for retail investors, a move that will bring its mutual fund assets to nearly $11 billion.

Goldman, Sachs & Co. serves as distributor and administrator for the Benchmark Funds.

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