Serving Americans for more than a century

The heritage of Great-West Financial® (Great-West) dates back to 1891, when our former parent company was founded by Jeffry Hall Brock on the Canadian prairie. U.S. sales began in 1906 and the company originally organized in 1907.

Great-West Financial® is a registered mark of Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company (GWL&A). It is an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of Great-West Lifeco Inc. and “A Member of the Power Financial Corporation Group of Companies®”. The following chronology illustrates how the company has evolved through the years to address Americans’ financial needs.

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1891
The Great-West Life Assurance Company (Great-West Life) was incorporated in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
1906
Great-West Life opened its first U.S. sales office in Fargo, North Dakota.
1907
The company now known as GWL&A was incorporated in Kansas as The National Interment Association.
1920
Great-West Life began group insurance sales in the United States.
1934
The first major U.S. group account was established, with the American Dental Association.
1940
The company’s retirement business, now branded Empower Retirement (Empower), began offering services to tax-advantaged retirement savings plans for U.S. employers under Internal Revenue Code Section 401(a).
1942
With a full line of individual and group coverage, Great-West Life entered the accident and health insurance field in the U.S.
1962
The company began offering services to Section 403(b) retirement savings plans for nonprofit organizations. U.S. customers accounted for half of Great-West Life’s annual sales.
1969
Power Corporation of Canada (Power) acquired controlling interest in Great-West Life through its subsidiary Investors Group.
1973
Great-West Life established a separate U.S. marketing division, with offices in downtown Denver, Colorado.
1978
Empower began offering services to Section 457 deferred compensation plans for public-sector employees in the U.S.
1979
The formal process of splitting U.S. and Canadian operations began. A new office complex was built in downtown Denver to house U.S. headquarters.
1982
Great-West Life purchased the U.S. company that it later named Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company (GWL&A).
1983
Outgrowing its downtown Denver location, the company moved U.S. headquarters to its current campus in Greenwood Village, Colorado.
1984
Power transferred its holdings in Great-West Life and Investors Group to a new subsidiary, Power Financial Corporation.
1985
Empower began offering services to 401(k) defined contribution (DC) plans for private employers.
1986
Power established Great-West Lifeco Inc. (Lifeco) to hold shares of Great-West Life previously held by Investors Group.
1992
Great-West Life completed the transfer of its U.S. operations to its subsidiary GWL&A. Empower introduced a proprietary retirement plan recordkeeping platform.
1993
Great-West established Financial Administrative Services Corporation. The business, now branded Empower Institutional, provides recordkeeping and administrative services for retirement plans offered by other financial institutions.
1994
Great-West entered the bank-owned life insurance market.
1996
Through an alliance with Charles Schwab & Co., Great-West created a new distribution channel for life insurance and annuity products.
1997
Great-West began to market its life insurance products through banks and introduced an executive tax-deferred savings program designed to help employers recruit and retain highly compensated employees.
2000
The ownership of GWL&A was transferred to Lifeco subsidiary GWL&A Financial Inc.
2003
Empower acquired the 401(k) administration firm EMJAY Corporation and the group retirement business of Federated Insurance Companies.
2004
Through another acquisition, Metavante 401(k) Services, Inc. became part of Empower.
2006
Empower acquired a block of 401(k) and defined benefit plan business from Metropolitan Life Insurance Company and its affiliates General American Life and New England Life. It also acquired U.S. Bank’s bundled, full-service DC business.
2007
Franklin Templeton Investments transitioned its 401(k) recordkeeping business to Empower.
2008
To focus on its financial services business, Great-West completed the sale of its healthcare business to a subsidiary of CIGNA Corporation.
2010
Great-West introduced a set of retirement income investment options, now known as the Great-West SecureFoundation® Funds, with a guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit.
2012
The company introduced the brand identity Great-West Financial. It also developed a retirement income solution, Great-West SecureFoundation® Smart Future, for the bank market and a new variable annuity, Great-West Smart Track®, for the retail brokerage market.
2013
Great-West launched Great-West Smart Track® II, a retirement income offering for the independent broker-dealer and bank markets.
2014
The company merged its retirement business with the DC business of affiliate Putnam Investments and the acquired J.P. Morgan Retirement Plan Services. Empower became the nation’s second-largest retirement services provider.*
2015
Great-West introduced a new visual identity that underscores our position as an asset manager and provider of life insurance, executive benefits and retirement income solutions.
2016
Great-West announced a strategic collaboration with the Stanford University Center on Longevity to study the implications of longer lives for financial planning and security. It also created Great-West Investments, a business that drives investment and retirement income solutions for retirement savers, plan sponsors and their advisors.

1As of Dec. 31, 2015, PLANSPONSOR, June 2016. Empower information refers to all retirement business of Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company (GWL&A) and its subsidiaries.

Empower Retirement refers to the products and services offered in the retirement markets by GWL&A and its subsidiaries. Empower Institutional refers to retirement recordkeeping services offered by FASCore, LLC (d/b/a FASCore Administrators, LLC in California), and its affiliates. "A Member of the Power Financial Corporation Group of Companies" is the registered mark of Power Corporation of Canada. Other than those owned by Power Corporation of Canada, the trademarks, service marks and design elements used are owned by GWL&A. (9/2016) PT277657