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Harris Bankcorp to Take Minority Equity Position In Virtus

Harris Bankcorp to Take Minority Equity Position
In Virtus Investment Partners Before Spin-off from Phoenix

 

CHICAGO and HARTFORD, CT, October 30, 2008 - The Phoenix Companies, Inc. (NYSE:PNX) today announced that it has entered into an agreement with Harris Bankcorp Inc., a U.S. subsidiary of Bank of Montreal (TSX, NYSE: BMO), under which Harris would acquire $45 million in convertible preferred stock, representing a 23 percent equity position in Virtus Investment Partners, Inc., Phoenix's wholly owned asset management subsidiary. The transaction, which is subject to certain regulatory and other conditions, is expected to be completed in connection with the spin-off of Virtus from Phoenix, which is expected to occur later this year.

Phoenix announced plans to spin off Virtus, previously named Phoenix Investment Partners, to its stockholders earlier this year and is currently finalizing the Form 10 registration statement required to complete the separation.

"We are very pleased that such a highly respected financial institution is making this investment in Virtus. It underscores Virtus' many strengths, including its management team, cash profitability, solid investment performance and broad distribution footprint," said Dona D. Young, Phoenix's chairman, president and chief executive officer.

"Our relationship with Phoenix has been a great benefit to our clients, helping them meet their individual financial goals through well-managed investment vehicles," said Ellen Costello, chief executive officer, Harris Bankcorp. "We are pleased to extend our connection further with this investment in Virtus and look forward to their continued growth and success."

Virtus has had a business relationship with Harris since 2006 when Virtus became the investment adviser, distributor and administrator of the Harris Insight(R) Funds and retained Harris Investment Management Inc., a subsidiary of Harris Bankcorp, as sub-advisor to 15 of the Insight Funds and several Virtus Mutual Funds. Harris Investment Management is Virtus' largest subadviser and manages more than $5.8 billion in mutual fund assets for Virtus. In April 2008 the Virtus Insight Value Equity fund, which is subadvised by Harris Investment Management, was recognized by Lipper as the best fund in the Multi-Cap Value fund classification for the three-year period ending December 31, 2007.

"In Harris we see a stable investor with a clear interest in the continued growth and success of Virtus," said George R. Aylward, president of Virtus. "This investment strengthens the strategic partnership between Virtus and Harris, which is a well-respected financial services company with a strong balance sheet. We look forward to deepening our relationship with Harris and growing Virtus Investment Partners for the benefit of all our shareholders," Aylward said.

"Since the beginning of our affiliation in 2006, we have enjoyed a strong relationship with both the management and investment teams at Phoenix," said Gilles Ouellette, president and chief executive officer, Private Client Group, Bank of Montreal. "Their reputation for excellence is a strong foundation for Virtus and we are happy to deepen our connection to them."

Phoenix expects to complete the spin-off of Virtus in 2008. Investor meetings and other communications with the investment community are expected to take place after the Form 10 is declared effective. The information statement contained in the Form 10 will be available to all stockholders prior to the spin-off. Stockholders are urged to read the registration statement when it becomes available.

About The Phoenix Companies, Inc.

With roots dating to 1851, The Phoenix Companies, Inc. (NYSE:PNX) helps individuals and institutions solve their often highly complex personal financial and business planning needs through its broad array of life insurance, annuities and investments. In 2007, Phoenix had annual revenues of $2.6 billion and total assets of $30.2 billion. For more information, visit www.phoenixwm.com.

About Virtus Investment Partners, Inc.

Virtus Investment Partners provides investment management products and services to individuals and institutions. It operates a multi-manager asset management business, comprising a number of individual affiliated managers, each with a distinct investment style, autonomous investment process and individual brand. Investors have an array of needs and Virtus Investment Partners offers a variety of investment styles and multiple disciplines to meet those needs. For more information, visit www.virtus.com.

 

About Harris

Harris is an integrated financial service organization providing more than 1 million personal, business and corporate clients with banking, lending, investing and wealth management solutions. The organization is a member of the BMO Financial Group (NYSE, TSX: BMO), which also provides corporate and investment banking services in the U.S. under the BMO Capital Markets name.

About Harris Investment Management, Inc.

Harris Investment Management, Inc. is a registered investment advisor with the SEC, and wholly owned subsidiary of Harris Bankcorp Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Harris Financial Corp., which is a wholly owned subsidiary of BMO Financial Group. Harris Investment Management, Inc. is a part of BMO Asset Management, which offers a range of investment management products and services to clients in North America, Europe, the UK and the Middle East through the following investment managers, which are also wholly owned by BMO Financial Group: Jones Heward Investment Counsel Inc., a Canadian institutional money manager; HIM Monegy, a high yield manager subsidiary and Pyrford International, a London UK based institutional asset manager. Harris Investment Management, Inc. became a wholly owned subsidiary of Harris Bankcorp, Inc. effective January 1, 1990. Prior to January 1, 1990, the firm was known as the Harris Investment Management Group, which operated as part of Harris Trust and Savings Bank. Please refer to Form Harris Investment Management, Inc.'s ADV, Part I for full disclosure of our ownership and complete list of affiliates.

 

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Harris® is a trade name used by various financial service subsidiaries of Harris Financial Corp.

 

Lipper, Inc. is a highly regarded independent mutual fund research firm and a leading global provider of comprehensive and objective information on funds and fund markets. In addition to recognizing individual funds from 21 countries, the Lipper Fund Awards program spotlights fund families with high average scores for all funds within a particular asset class or overall.

 

Lipper ranks funds based on total return. Each fund is ranked within a universe of funds similar in portfolio characteristics and capitalization. Rankings do not include the effect of a fund's sales load, if applicable. The top rated fund in the 3 year, 5 year and 10 year period in an asset classification is awarded the Lipper Fund Award. Lipper ranking is for Class A only; other classes may have different performance characteristics. In the Lipper Consistent Return Standard Rank in the Multi-Cap Value Classification, the Virtus Insight Value Equity Fund Class A was ranked 1/322 funds for 3 years; 46/262 funds for 5 years; and 67/93 funds for 10 years. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.

 

 

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This press release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 which, by their nature, are subject to risks and uncertainties. We intend for these forward-looking statements to be covered by the safe harbor provisions of the federal securities laws relating to forward-looking statements. These include statements relating to trends in, or representing management's beliefs about, our future transactions, strategies, operations and financial results, as well as other statements including words  such as "anticipate," "believe," "plan," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "may," "should" and other similar expressions. Forward-looking statements are made based upon our current expectations and beliefs concerning trends and future developments and their potential effects on the company. They are not guarantees of future performance. Actual results may differ materially from those suggested by forward-looking statements as a result of risks and uncertainties, which include, among others: (i) the effects of recent adverse market and economic developments on all aspects of our business; (ii) changes in general market and business conditions, interest rates and the debt and equity markets; (iii) the possibility that mortality rates, persistency rates or funding levels may differ significantly from our pricing expectations; (iv) the availability, pricing and terms of reinsurance coverage generally and the inability or unwillingness of our reinsurers to meet their obligations to us specifically; (v) our dependence on non-affiliated distributors for our product sales; (vi) downgrades in our debt or financial strength ratings; (vii) our dependence on third parties to maintain critical business and administrative functions; (viii) the ability of independent trustees of our mutual funds and closed-end funds, intermediary program sponsors, managed account clients and institutional asset management clients to terminate their relationships with us; (ix) our ability to attract and retain key personnel in a competitive environment; (x) the poor relative investment performance of some of our asset management strategies and the resulting outflows in our assets under management; (xi) the possibility that the goodwill or intangible assets associated with our asset management business could become impaired, requiring a charge to earnings; (xii) the strong competition we face in our business from mutual fund companies, banks, asset management firms and other insurance companies; (xiii) our reliance, as a holding company, on dividends and other payments from our subsidiaries to meet our financial obligations and pay future dividends, particularly since our insurance subsidiaries' ability to pay dividends is subject to regulatory restrictions; (xiv) the potential need to fund deficiencies in our Closed Block; (xv) tax developments that may affect us directly, or indirectly through the cost of, the demand for or profitability of our products or services; (xvi) other legislative or regulatory developments; (xvii) legal or regulatory actions; (xviii) changes in accounting standards; (xix) the potential effects of the spin-off of our asset management subsidiary on our expense levels, liquidity and third-party relationships; and (xx) other risks and uncertainties described herein or in any of our filings with the SEC. We undertake no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

 

Investors should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses of a fund carefully before investing. Read the prospectus carefully before you invest. Call 1-800-243-4361 or visit www.Virtus.com for a prospectus, which contains this and other information about Virtus Mutual Funds.

 

Distributed by Phoenix Equity Planning Corporation, Hartford, CT. Member, FINRA and subsidiary of Virtus Investment Partners, Inc., a member of The Phoenix Companies, Inc.