Prudential Financial proves to be a Fortune 500 company and Fortune Global 500 firm based in the United States. This company’s hundreds of subsidiaries deliver insurance, financial services and products, and investment management for institutional and retail level clients living in the U.S. and more than thirty different nations. Among their mainstay services and products they offer are annuities, life insurance, mutual funds, retirement investments and pension products, stocks and bonds securities broker services, asset management and administration, and even residential and commercial real estate (in a number of American states).
Prudential Financial has impressive operations beyond the United States, in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Their main operations fall into the two divisions of Financial Services Businesses and Closed Block Business. They deliver these extensive services and products to both institutional and individual clients utilizing financial services industry- based distribution channels. With over $2 trillion worth of life insurance holdings, the company is well-known and -regarded throughout the world by its Rock of Gibraltar logo. The global multinational corporation numbered 48,384 employees back in 2014. They are headquartered in the Prudential Plaza in Newark, New Jersey.
The company did not start out under the name of Prudential Financial. When it began life in 1875 Newark, New Jersey, the company existed under the name The Widows and Orphans Friendly Society. Its next name was the Prudential Friendly Society. John F. Dryden established the company before becoming a United States senator. The firm counts thousands of products in its line up today, but in the first days it only sold burial insurance. Founder Dryden remained Prudential President through 1912. His son Forrest F. Dryden continued the family legacy as president of the insurance company through 1922.
When the 20th century dawned, Prudential and the competing major American insurance companies earned the majority of their corporate profits from the sales of industrial life insurance. These were insurance contracts which solicitors sold door to door in the poor inner cities. Industrial workers were forced to pay twice as much what financially more secure individuals paid for standard life insurance. With high policy lapsing rates, only around nine percent of these workers had policies in force when they died. The mixed history of this insurance giant is detailed in the book Three Cents A Week, which was the early policyholder premium members paid for insurance coverage.
Today’s Prudential has morphed from its relatively humble early days as a mutual insurance company (as of 1915) which its many policyholders owned into a joint stock company. It trades today on the famed New York Stock Exchange by the symbol PRU. This stock began trading on NYSE in December of 2001. The company joined the Fox 50 Index of the Fox Business Channel in October of 2007.
In August of 2006, the company ran afoul of both state and federal securities regulators. They and the Department of Justice revealed dual settlements totaling $600 million in sanctions against Prudential Financial subsidiary Prudential Securities, Inc (today called the Prudential Equity Group). This was the largest such fine levied on a securities business up to that time. They paid these fines for their improper market timing misconduct. These represented the latest in a string of scandals for investor fraud that stretched back to the 1980s and involved investors in 49 states.
Prudential survived its various fraud charges and class action lawsuits from impropriety in the 1980’s, 1990’s and 2000’s and eventually emerged both admired and respected. It is recognized as the number one ranked insurance (life and health category) company in the 2016 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list compiled by Fortune magazine. Corporate Knight calls it a member of the “Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World” for 2016 and 2015. Prudential Financial is also a constituent member of the British FTSE4 Good Index Series for 2016 and five years before this.