Prudential Hires Duda for Emerging-Markets Bond Team

Prudential Financial Inc., the second-largest U.S. life insurer, hired Matthew C. Duda from Legg Mason Inc.’s Western Asset Management, bolstering a team that oversees about $28 billion in emerging-market debt.

He will report to managing director David Bessey, according to a statement today from the Newark, New Jersey-based insurer’s fixed-income unit.

“Matt’s deep experience and global perspective in emerging markets is a welcome addition,” said James Sullivan, head of Prudential Fixed Income. “He’ll bring tremendous value to our clients.”

More than half a decade of low interest rates has led some insurers and other institutional investors to look outside the U.S. to increase investment yields. Dollar-denominated government and corporate bonds from developing countries yielded about 2.76 percentage points more than Treasuries with similar maturities, the Bloomberg Emerging Market Composite Bond Index shows. The index has an average rating of BBB-, the lowest investment-grade level.

Prudential has been recruiting money managers for its business that oversees funds for clients. The company said last month that it had hired Arvinder Chowdhary from Western Asset Management for a post in its leveraged finance group. Other recent hires have come from asset managers including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and BlackRock Inc.

Duda, 42, was part of a team at Western Asset that oversaw more than $50 billion, according to the statement. He also served as chairman of the money manager’s global emerging markets credit committee.

Chia-Liang Lian took over Duda’s role at Western Asset, said Mary Athridge, a spokeswoman for Baltimore-based Legg Mason.

‘Team Approach’

“Continuity will not be an issue as the team approach serves as the safety net to ensure that the departure of any one professional does not impact the investment management process,” the company said in an e-mailed statement.

Duda holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a master’s degree in economics from New York University.

Prudential Fixed Income had $418 billion under management as of March 31. The business has teams in Newark, London and Singapore.

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