Tech unit's goal is an integrated financial services site. Prudential Insurance has created a separate technology unit to transform the Prudential Securities Web site into an integrated financial services site.
The new Internet-focused effort at Prudential is called NetCo.
Formed this past March, NetCo started out with 15 people and had grown to 140 as of August. NetCo's ultimate plans will require a staff of 250 to 400 people, says David Weild, NetCo president.
Plans include integrating the insurance company parent, its bank and trust division, and its real estate operations with the PrudentialSecurities.com platform at www.prusec.com. Weild anticipates a "major relaunch" by the end of this year.
Specifics are a bit skimpy at this point, but Weild promises to "increase the number of investment alternatives that our financial advisers have [available] to show to their customers." Products will be a combination of in-house and third-party offerings.
For instance, PrudentialSecurities.com now has some credit card and checking capabilities, Weild says. But the planned integration with Prudential's banking unit will give the securities firm the ability to offer clients extras like flexible spending accounts. These accounts will enable brokerage clients to borrow from the bank based on the value of their securities portfolios, Weild says.
During June, PrudentialSecurities.com asked online clients if they were interested in the flexible spending account. About 4,000 people said yes.
Another NetCo goal is creating a user-friendly site. Clients will have "the convenience of having everything in one place," Weild says, "tightly integrated and easy to navigate."
Weild says that once the PrudentialSecurities.com site has been relaunched, he has another 70 or so (unspecified) initiatives forthcoming in 2001.