Prudential sells US independent broker-dealer for US$325mln to LPL Financial LLC

Prudential has shed assets from its US business to focus on retirement products

Prudential is streamlining its US business

Prudential PLC (LON:PRU) has sold its US independent broker-dealer network to LPL Financial LLC amid speculation of a break-up of the insurer.

LPL Financial, the largest independent broker-dealer in the US, will pay an initial purchase price of US$325mln for the network, which includes Invest Financial Corporation, Investment Centers of America, Inc., National Planning Corporation and SII Investments, Inc.  

The purchase price may increase to up to US$448mln, subject to certain “transition criteria”.

The deal has been approved by regulators and is expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2018.

Barry Stowe, chairman and chief executive of Prudential’s North America business, said: "While we still very much believe in the independent broker-dealer model, our primary strategy in North America is to focus on being the leading manufacturer of retirement products. The transaction with LPL Financial provides us with a compelling opportunity to divest our ownership in the NPH network to a leading independent broker-dealer well suited to support financial advisors and their retail clients going forward."

The news comes just days after Prudential announced it was merging its UK asset management business, M&G, with its UK and Europe life insurance unit to form M&G Prudential.

READ: Prudential merges UK operations as Asia continues to drive profit growth in first half

The move fuelled rumours that Prudential may be preparing to carve off its UK business to focus on its more profitable Asian unit.

On Monday reports emerged that Legal & General Group PLC (LON:LGEN) is planning to bid for a £10bn tranche of Prudential's UK annuity portfolio.

READ: Legal & General plans to bid for Prudential's UK annuity business

Prudential last year said it was exiting the annuities market as regulatory changes and low interest rates have deterred customers and insurance firms.  

Quick facts: Prudential

Price: 1299.5 GBX

Market: LSE
Market Cap: £33.79 billion

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