Prudential Investments continues to break down its proprietary product walls.
In September, Prudential completed selling agreements with wholesaling giants Fidelity, Federated Investors and others, bringing the total number of agreements with outside distributors to more than 5,000.
The deal with Fidelity Institutional Brokerage Group, a fund wholesaler, gives Prudential the opportunity to sell its 60 funds at NAV through 700 independent advisers and clearing correspondents who currently hold more than 33 billion dollars in Fidelity's fund network program.
With Federated Investors Trust Connect Program, a mutual fund trading platform for bank trust advisory departments, Prudential gains access to more than 150 banks that have more than 13 billion dollars in mutual fund assets.
One of the first major retail firms to make its funds portable to other brokerages, Prudential has been expanding distribution channels since July 1998 when it formed the Prudential Investments Advisory Group. The group provides outside financial advisers and institutions with access to Prudential's investment management services. In its biggest move so far, Prudential signed on with Schwab's OneSource program in November 1998.
"The expansion of mutual fund sales outside of Prudential can only help add credibility," says a Southern California Prudential rep. "If I'm selling against someone who is also mentioning Prudential funds, it can only help my case. I personally do not perceive this as a threat."
"If anything, it will create more market awareness of our funds," agrees a Midwest Prudential broker.
"I think it's awesome," says a Prudential rep in the Northeast, who feels the firm's latest move will decrease any pressure to sell Prudential products, as well as improve quality.
Firm spokesperson Tim Biggs says Prudential's future focus will be to continue to offer its asset management services to a growing number of banks, advisory firms and full-service independent broker/dealers.
"We've always believed the more we get the Prudential brand out there it's to the benefit of our brokers," Biggs says.