Careers at Principal Financial Group


Principal Financial Group’s mission is to help growing businesses, individuals, and institutional clients achieve financial security and success, resulting in excellent shareholder value.

Business segments

Principal Financial Group is a provider of financial investment management services. The firm operates four reportable business segments:  Retirement and Income Solutions, Principal Global Investors, Principal International, and U.S. Insurance Solutions.


Prior to the U.S. Civil War, life insurance was primarily considered a service for the wealthy. Then consumer interest grew during the war – and by 1869 110 firms were selling it. However, policies were still expensive and could be canceled easily. So Edward A. Temple, a banker in Iowa, decided to launch an organization offering low-cost life insurance to others in his profession.

The association required members to be men between age 22 and 55. Further, they had to be in good health and employed in low-risk occupations. The service utilized a model in which all members paid benefits when one of the members died. Their costs would include a deposit fee, an initiation fee, and a quarterly assessment fee, with the total annual amount less than 1% of insurance in force.

Temple’s offering was popular among his colleagues, and in 1879 the organization was incorporated as The Bankers Life Association. It also expanded membership beyond bankers to individuals recommended by banks that it used as a depository. The firm grew rapidly, and by the turn of the century it was operating in 21 states and had $143 million worth of insurance in force.

Over the 1950s, Bankers Life Association introduced a number of new products and features. These included individual accident and health insurance in 1952 and an option to buy extra coverage for a small premium in 1957. In 1985 it changed its name to The Principal Financial Group as its customer base had grown far beyond bankers. In the 1990s it expanded internationally. In 2001 it went public.

Business model of Principal Financial Group

Customer Segments

Principal has a niche market business model, with a specialized customer segment. The company targets its offerings at individuals and small and medium-sized businesses, which it defines as firms with less than 1,000 employees.

Value Proposition

Principal offers three primary value propositions: accessibility, convenience, and brand/status.

The company creates accessibility by providing a wide variety of options. Its Principal Total Retirement Suite offers all four major categories of retirement plans and risk management options.

The company offers convenience by making life simpler for customers. Individuals can consolidate multiple accounts by moving them to their current employer’s retirement plan. They can also roll over multiple accounts and use their funds to open an Individual Retirement Account.

The company has established a powerful brand due to its success. It serves investors in over 70 countries through offices in 18 countries across Asia, Australia, Europe, Latin America and North America. It has $595.8 billion in assets under management and over 19.1 million customers. It holds many top rankings, including #1 provider of Defined Benefit retirement plans, #1 recordkeeper of Employee Stock Ownership Plans, #1 provider of Nonqualified Deferred Compensation plans, the #5 non-medical carrier, and the #4 manager of target-date lifecycle mutual funds in the U.S. Lastly, it has won many honors, including:

  • Recognition as the Best Place to Work in Money Management, Best Place to Work in Information Technology, and One of America's Best Employers by Fortune
  • Recognition as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies and #3 Greenest CRE Company
  • The Adviser's Choice Award for advisor support, post-sale
  • Over 90 Best in Class designations from PLANSPONSOR magazine’s Defined Contribution Services Survey


Principal’s main channel is its team of sales consultants. The company promotes its offerings through its website, social media pages, print and TV advertising, sponsorships, and conferences.

Customer Relationships

Principal’s customer relationship is primarily of a personal assistance nature. The company employs a staff of service and education specialists that assist customers by reviewing plan design, investment options, and plan performance, and addressing customers' needs and feedback.

Key Activities

Principal’s business model entails designing, developing, and distributing its products and services for customers.

Key Partners

Principal’s key partners are the banks that help deliver its products and suppliers that provide various services it needs for its operations.

Key Resources

Principal’s main resources are the financial industry professionals that design, deliver, and distribute its products and services, and the customer service employees who provide necessary support.

Cost Structure

Principal has a value-driven structure, aiming to provide a premium proposition through significant personal service. Its biggest cost driver is its set of benefits, claims, and settlement expenses. Other major drivers are in the areas of sales/marketing and customer support, both fixed costs.

Revenue Streams

Principal has three main revenue streams:

  • Premiums and other considerations
  • Fees and other revenues
  • Net investment income

Our team

Daniel J. Houston,
President, Chairman, and CEO

info: Daniel J. Houston earned a Bachelor’s degree at Iowa State University. He previously held a number of leadership roles at Principal, including Chief Operating Officer, President of Retirement and Income Solutions, and Executive Vice President.

Terrance J. Lillis,
EVP and Chief Financial Officer

info: Terrance J. Lillis earned a Bachelor’s degree from Simpson College and a Master’s degree from the University of Iowa. He previously held several leadership roles at Principal, including Chief Financial Officer – Retirement & Income Solutions.

Gary P. Scholten,
EVP and Chief Information Officer

info: Gary P. Scholten earned a Bachelor’s degree at the University of Northern Iowa. He previously held many IT leadership roles at Principal. His current responsibilities include overseeing the firm’s use of information technology and offshore resourcing.

Timothy M. Dunbar,
EVP and Chief Investment Officer

info: Timothy M. Dunbar earned a Bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University. He previously held numerous leadership roles at Principal, including SVP of Strategy & Finance and Executive Director and Head of Equities for Principal Global Investors.