Houston-based Forethought Financial Group Inc. has acquired a broker-dealer from The Hartford that will allow it to underwrite and distribute variable annuities.

The acquisition, completed December 31, allows Foresight to expand its annuity distribution platform and add a variable annuity product line. Foresight is expanding in the variable annuity business at a time when several insurance companies have announced they are withdrawing from it.

The broker-dealer is now called Forethought Distributors LLC and includes more than 100 annuity professionals in product, distribution and marketing. Robert Arena, who previously led The Hartford’s individual annuity business, will be president of Forethought Annuity, a division of Indiana-based Forethought Life Insurance Co., which is opening new offices in Simsbury, Conn., and Berwyn, Pa.

“This acquisition will extend the reach of Forethought products to thousands of the most respected financial advisors nationwide at a time when the demand for these products has never been greater,” said John Graf, Chairman, president and CEO.