Last month, Prudential Retirement announced it was changing its client-facing service personnel into 10 “key account” teams based in three U.S. regions; five teams servicing East Coast clients, and another five focusing on clients in the Midwest and the West Coast (see Pru Retirement Moving to ‘Key Account’ Team Structure).
Changes have already been announced to staff, advisers, and clients, Castineiras said. Affected employees have been told that their roles are not what Prudential Retirement will be supporting in the future. However, instead of hand-picking individuals to make up each team, Castineras said employees have been asked to “give serious consideration to a series of new roles,” and apply for the positions on the new key account teams.
Although Castineras said he has had a couple of people say that they would rather retire or have their previous job, overall, he said he has “been surprised and excited by the level of excitement and engagement” of employees.
While Castineras said he cannot guarantee this, he did note that it is very likely advisers will still be working with some of the same people they have had relationships with at Prudential. Further, every one of Prudential’s accounts will continue to have an assigned relationship manager – that is not changing, he said.
Last month, Castineiras said he anticipated a “small” reduction in staff as a result of the changes as well as the need to relocate some employees to other offices, and he reiterated to PLANSPONSOR that he does not yet know what the reduction in the size of staff will be.
Key Account Structure
There is no asset threshold to be covered by key accounts. Prudential will determine what clients are covered by key accounts according to the level of complexity of the plan, and which advisers work with which plans.
Each key account team has a VP leader, with the title of Director, and another two to three individuals. Each team is “running a small business” and has collective accountability for 40 to 50 clients. A large benefit of the model is how easy it is to scale up, Castineiras noted. For example, Castineras said, one of the regional teams is now overloaded, as that region has many more clients than originally expected. That key account team is growing and will have an additional member.
Castineiras said his goal is to have the new alignment rolled out by mid-November.
As for industry rumors that the change had something to do with cutting costs, or was in some way related to Prudential’s IncomeFlex product, Castineras said, it “unequivocally absolutely has nothing to do with that.”