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Controversy — Prudential's new direct model

from PIA Western Alliance

Prudential just unveiled a new direct-to-consumer financial services link called appropriately, LINK. Or LINK by Prudential to be specific. What it does — for the first time in the firm's 143-year history — is allow consumers to do their own personalized planning without the traditional Prudential advisor.

LINK offers personalized financial planning and recommendations for insurance, annuities and investments. So clients can manage their portfolios with some help from remote advisors. Or to put it another way, the company's large network of advisors who’ve — until now — managed the company's $1.4 trillion in assets are eliminated from the process.

The change is for Millennials who have a lot of purchasing power but don't really want a personal relationship with a advisor. The impersonal computer with a texting advisor works just fine for them.

Obviously the decision is not going to set well with Prudential's fleet of financial advisors. Prudentials chief operating officer Stephen Pelletier said the intention is not to do away with them. They'll still play a "critical role" in the company's success. All this does — he notes — is give younger customers a "seamless experience" where they can pick up financial products and insurance on the same site and pick the level of advisory service they want.

Pelletier said LINK is going to be available to 20 million people via workplaces. more

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