Prudential USA launches private client business

Its new wealth management unit, Dryden, will focus on Asian and European clients.

US-based Prudential Financial has launched a new private client business, Dryden Wealth Management, which targets Asian and European high-net worth individuals, offering local and offshore discretionary asset management and advisory expertise.

Dryden represents a transformation of Prudential's current international offerings, which in the past have been focused mainly on brokering US-focused transactions for international clients.

"It has long been evident that no diversification is a bad thing that makes you susceptible to market volatility," says Carol Robbins, the London-based chairman and CEO of Dryden. She emphasizes that the firm's offices will offer a fully international suite of products and services, provide a local touch, and embrace a wealth-management attitude, versus just transacting US stock deals. "We'll now have a much more regional and local focus," she adds.

The target client is individuals worth $500,000 to $3 million or more, as well as small pension funds and other institutions.

In addition to four offices in Europe (including Geneva, where the firm also has a bank), Dryden is located in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan. In addition to growing organically, largely by referrals and word of mouth, Dryden will be looking for acquisition targets in those three markets.

Dryden's previous identity was Prudential-Bache, which sometimes operated under the Prudential Financial or the Prumerica Financial names. Robbins, who has a marketing background, understood that this confusion had to end. "We hope people will come to associate the name Dryden with wealth management," she says. The name refers to John Dryden, who founded the Prudential Insurance Company of America in 1875.

She declined to quantify the assets under management. Prudential Financial, the parent, has $422 billion AUM across its three business units: US investments, US insurance, and international investments and insurance. This third unit, headed by vice chairman Rodger Lawson who is based in the US, has itself three businesses, international insurance, international investment, and Dryden, which is currently the smallest of the trio.

Robbins has been with Prudential for seven years, initially in the US, but mostly in the international division, in which she supported business development and marketing for Japan, among other projects. She was named Dryden's CEO in January, and reports to Lawson.

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