If you are assessing financial career options, consider working for ‘The Rock’, Prudential. The Newark, New Jersey-based insurance giant, by itself and through subsidiaries, covers the full gamut of financial services such as investments, real estate, insurance, private financing and asset management.
But there’s no doubt the company’s core competency is insurance.
Prudential’s life insurance business is massive, with $3.5 trillion in life insurance policies in force.1 In the U.S., Prudential offers Individual and Group Life products for individuals as well as corporations and their employees. Coverage options include term and universal life insurance (with plenty of variations including variable, survivor and indexed universal life).
Prudential is also a major player in the annuities business, ranking in the top ten overall and #5 for variable annuities.2
Annuities are contracts between an insurance company and an individual where the individual pays the insurer a premium (either through installments or a lump sum) and the insurance company agrees to pay a fixed stream of income for a certain period of time (often the rest of the individual’s life). While technically insurance products, some annuities act like securities, especially variable annuities.
If working specifically in the insurance industry doesn’t appeal to you, don’t worry. Prudential has many subsidiaries that could be a great fit for your interests and skill sets.
These companies have operations ranging from real estate to energy exploration.3 Prudential even has its hands in asset backed securities with Prudential Structured Assets Inc. and mortgages with their ‘Prudential Home Mortgage Securities Company, Inc.’.4
Prudential is clearly focused on growing its lucrative wealth management business and has rebranded this division as PGIM, their investment management arm.
This unit has over $1.2 trillion under management covering a variety of strategies.5 These include plain vanilla retirement planning as well as more sophisticated alternative investments including equity long/short, EM relative value and market neutral. They also capitalize on event driven opportunities by employing over 100 traders.
Pension risk transfers are rising as financially strapped municipalities have been unloading their benefit obligations to insurance companies like Prudential and MetLife. Similar to an individual customer, the company or entity places their retirement plan assets with Prudential with the hopes that Prudential will be able to pay the beneficiaries (the pensioners).
PGIM is heavily involved in managing these pension risks and services 23 of the 25 largest corporate pension funds in the United States.6 In fact, they have been in this business since 1928 when they performed a pension risk transfer for the Cleveland Public Library.7
Prudential is also involved in international investing through entities such as their Brazil Capital Fund, LP.8 This is presumably a private equity fund considering the corporate structure is a limited partnership, which is how many private investment companies, including hedge funds, operate. Investors often become limited partners of the entity while the actual general partner is the ‘fund’ making the investments.
Working Life: Prudential Careers
Prudential employs over 49,000 people in 43 countries around the globe.9 The financial services giant can boast being named #1 Most Admired Company by Fortune Magazine in the Insurance: Life and Health category.10 The designation was awarded based on survey responses to perceived attributes such as people management, long-term investment value and global competitiveness.
Considering that Prudential employs so many professionals around the globe, it’s no surprise there is a very strong commitment to diversity. They also have a LGBT friendly atmosphere and offer investment strategies specifically geared towards this segment of the population, who often are in financially strong positions.11 Having a broad diversity policy is also a smart business strategy, because their clients are everyone since the needs of life insurance.
The ‘talent mindset’ at Prudential is to attract and develop innovative and hard-working professionals. If you fit this mold there are currently job openings for loan closers, actuaries and inbound sales consultants, to name a few.12
Prudential’s Value Proposition
The first baby boomers began hitting the retirement age in 2011 with an additional 10,000 retiring daily.
This is great news for Prudential’s businesses, offering a wide array of insurance and financial products to meet their needs. Many retirees need the security of a steady stream of retirement income so annuity sales have been very strong and should continue.
There is another mammoth generation, Millennials, who will need to provide insurance coverage for themselves and their families down the road.
These customers will also need a multitude financial planning resources- real estate transactions, college education savings and of course retirement planning. Prudential can certainly address these needs.
Prudential should continue to grow assets under management within its investment portfolio, especially as interest rates seemed to poised to rise after a decade-long trough. And as governments, states and municipalities remained financially strained, expect to see more outsourcing of retirement plans to insurers like Prudential. This should be a profitable business for decades to come.
If you go to work at Prudential, here are some positions you might want to pursue. They offer good compensation and a commensurate level of job security.
These financial professionals are the liaison between the customer and the insurer. According to respondents at Payscale.com, insurance underwriters at Prudential is make up to $96,306, including bonus.13
The average salary for Investment Analysts at Prudential is $70,461 according to Glassdoor.14 These positions pay well because they are so crucial to the business model of many life insurance companies.
In its simplest form, insurance companies take in premiums from customers and invest that money, hopefully earning enough to cover payouts and earn a profit for the company.
With so many asset classes to navigate today, it’s more important than ever to have a team of sharp analysts looking for alpha in a number of different markets and locations. A Master’s in Finance degree or even CFA will definitely provide a leg up when trying to land one of these spots.
Considering that Glassdoor lists a separate category specifically for ‘investment’ analysts, financial analysts probably deals a bit more with the corporate finance side with capital budgeting issues. These professionals should be well-versed in Microsoft Excel since they will be using this program ad nauseum. These analysts earn $77,292 according to respondents on Glassdoor.15
And when you have reached manager, the average pay jumps up to $94,915.16 One way to get noticed for managerial role is with a Master’s degree or MBA.
Assessing risk probabilities is the essence of any insurance company. It is the job of actuaries to quantify these risks. Miscalculations cost insurance companies millions of dollars. As such, actuaries at Prudential are well-compensated.
According to employee input from Glassdoor, a senior actuarial associate at Prudential earns $82,010 while the average salary for an associate actuary jumps to $106,580.17 Payscale reports actuary compensation even higher, at $115,000 per year on average.18
With the variety of financial services offered by Prudential and its subsidiaries, the operations department is the oil that keeps the entire machine running. And with a machine so interconnected, a premium is put on back-office operations professionals.
The average salary for an operations associate is $54,315, based on 26 salaries reported by current and former employees at Prudential.19
But according to Payscale, the best paid employees at Prudential also have a general Masters of Business Administration or MBA, who earn $140,000 per year with experience.20
What do Employees Think?
Looking at the anonymous employee review sites can provide additional insight into what the work environment is really like. According to GlassDoor, the average rating from current and former employees at Prudential is 3.5 out of 5 stars.21
There is also strong support for Prudential CEO John Strangfeld, with an 88% approval rating among anonymous respondents.22 Employees are generally happy with the benefits, both financial and health/wellness.
Prudential employees enjoy a wide variety of benefits. Overall benefits were rated 4.2 out of 5 stars by respondents on Glassdoor.23 There is even a corporate pension plan at Prudential which is a dying breed. Prudential offers a 401(k) retirement plan with a generous employee match.
On the health and wellness side, Prudential offers health insurance for full-time employees as well as flex spending accounts (FSAs).24 Dental and vision are optional benefits for others. There are also mentoring and coaching programs available for employees. We did come across a few reviews complaining on the cost of the health care benefits, even though they reported quality of coverage was strong.