Prudential Seeks to Poach Rival Teams to Bolster Unit

Prudential Financial Inc., the life insurer that recruited money managers from BlackRock Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., is seeking additional hires to bolster its investments business.

“We continue to want to expand through the acquisition of talent,” David Hunt, chief executive officer of Prudential Investment Management, said today at a presentation. “Our preferred mode of growth absolutely is individuals or, on occasion, team lift-out.”

Prudential, which has more than $1.1 trillion under management, said that it is poised to benefit from globalization of the investor base and the interest from clients in more strategies. Hunt’s unit added more than 40 middle- and senior-management positions since last year, according to a slide show on Newark, New Jersey-based Prudential’s website.

The fixed-income operation last week announced the hire of John Vibert from BlackRock to help run the structured-finance team, and in November announced the appointment of Goldman Sachs’s Robert Cignarella as co-head of global leveraged finance. The real estate unit hired Adriana Drulla Rossi from Morgan Stanley last year to help manage investments in Brazil after previously hiring Alfonso Munk from the bank.

Rivals including Principal Financial Group Inc. have struck deals to bolster their investment-management units. Hunt said that Prudential would consider “bolt-on” acquisitions to add specialized skills, though such purchases would probably be small.

Success Stories

Prudential has found “a much lower risk, and much higher-probability chance of success” with recruiting talent, compared with acquisitions, Hunt said. “There’s quite a number of good success stories across our platforms of both individuals and and teams” who prospered after arriving from other companies.

Hunt’s unit generated $1.88 billion in asset management fees last year from clients including institutional investors, according to the presentation. Assets under management at his business were $870 billion as of Dec. 31. The $1.1 trillion total also includes funds that back insurance obligations.

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