Head-To-Head Review: Symetra Financial (SYA) and Principal Financial Group (PFG)

Principal Financial Group (NYSE: PFG) and Symetra Financial (NYSE:SYA) are both financials companies, but which is the better business? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their earnings, valuation, risk, institutional ownership, dividends, profitability and analyst recommendations.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Principal Financial Group and Symetra Financial’s gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Principal Financial Group $12.38 billion 1.49 $1.32 billion $6.10 10.48
Symetra Financial N/A N/A N/A $1.36 N/A

Principal Financial Group has higher revenue and earnings than Symetra Financial. Symetra Financial is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Principal Financial Group, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

68.6% of Principal Financial Group shares are owned by institutional investors. 1.5% of Principal Financial Group shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, endowments and hedge funds believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of recent ratings and recommmendations for Principal Financial Group and Symetra Financial, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Principal Financial Group 1 5 2 0 2.13
Symetra Financial 0 0 0 0 N/A

Principal Financial Group currently has a consensus target price of $69.50, indicating a potential upside of 8.73%.


This table compares Principal Financial Group and Symetra Financial’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Principal Financial Group 12.35% 13.55% 0.63%
Symetra Financial 3.63% 2.50% 0.23%


Principal Financial Group pays an annual dividend of $1.96 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.1%. Symetra Financial pays an annual dividend of $0.44 per share. Principal Financial Group pays out 32.1% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Symetra Financial pays out 32.4% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Both companies have healthy payout ratios and should be able to cover their dividend payments with earnings for the next several years. Principal Financial Group has increased its dividend for 6 consecutive years. Principal Financial Group is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and longer track record of dividend growth.


Principal Financial Group beats Symetra Financial on 11 of the 12 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Principal Financial Group

Principal Financial Group, Inc. is an investment management company. The Company offers a range of financial products and services, including retirement, asset management and insurance. Its segments include Retirement and Income Solutions; Principal Global Investors, Principal International; U.S. Insurance Solutions, and Corporate. The Company offers a portfolio of products and services for retirement savings and retirement income. The Company’s Principal Global Investors segment manages assets for investors around the world. The Company offers pension accumulation products and services, mutual funds, asset management, income annuities and life insurance accumulation products. The Company’s U.S. Insurance Solutions segment provides group and individual insurance solutions. It focuses on small and medium-sized businesses, providing a range of retirement and employee benefit solutions, and individual insurance solutions to meet the needs of the business owners and their employees.

About Symetra Financial

Symetra Financial Corporation is a financial services company in the life insurance industry. The Company’s products are distributed domestically in all states and the District of Columbia through benefits consultants, financial institutions, broker-dealers and independent agents and advisers. It has three divisions: Benefits Division, Retirement Division and Individual Life Division. The Company’s Benefits Division provides medical stop-loss insurance, group life and disability income (DI) insurance, and limited benefit medical insurance as its principal products. The Company’s Retirement Division provides products that help its customers prepare for retirement and includes the Deferred Annuities and Income Annuities segments. The Company’s Individual Life division sells life insurance products.

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