Prudential Securities' image badly needs some polishing. Hence the debut Feb. 7 of a bold television and print advertising campaign featuring Pru's chief executive, Hardwick Simmons. Then there's this newest volley: The firm is dropping its $35 annual fee for IRA accounts. While some mutual funds already have axed such charges, Pru says it is the first full-service brokerage to do so. Prudential Securities director of Asset Management Services Gerald Tankersley insists there is no connection between the fee change and Prudential's ongoing limited partnership litigation. Rivals say the company has to cut prices to attract customers.

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