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Prudential Financial, Inc. - Analyst/Investor Day

Stocks in this article: PRU

I'll draw your attention to what is not in that statement, and that is the word price. At no point did he view price as a basis for competition. Quite the contrary. His vision was that he would achieve a premium price by offering a premium offer at premium value proposition to the customer. That principle applies to all of our businesses. He was an actuary, and that wasn't an accident. In fact, coincidentally, I am told that he was the first Japanese national to earn an FSA in America. So from day one, he was very focused on profitability and expense management. Those qualities are embedded and encoded in the DNA of that organization. And like all of these principles that I'm briefly summarizing, they have been transferred to the DNA and to the strategic underpinnings of all of these other companies which on the surface can look so different. So that was and remains the core fundamental business for POJ. Now it evolved over time. After all, these Life Planners are 20, 25 years older. So they have focused initially on Death Protection, but as John will make clear, they have subsequently evolved the needs they address in their customers to include Retirement and Accident & Health. And indeed, he will show you some details to show that it is a build-on, not a substitution.

I'll make the point about death protection particularly strong, because that is, as anyone in the business will tell you, the toughest sale to make, death protection, in contrast to a savings-oriented product, where the focus can be more on the crediting rate, the price, and the beneficiary is the purchaser, particularly if it's going to be held only until that individual needs the savings not for the true death protection. What makes pure death protection so hard to sell is because the only benefit that goes to the purchaser is the peace of mind that goes with the purchase. But the economic benefit obviously goes to the beneficiary. That's a very difficult sale to make. And you will notice that new entrants to the business and companies that don't have strong sales organizations tend to lean to the savings end of the spectrum, not to the pure death protection. What our organizations have evolved to do is the full spectrum. Go after that savings side, but always focus on the tough part. The part that others cannot do, will not do. That is the foundation, that's the death protection part of the business. So that was and remains the foundation for POJ.

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