Prudential builds in-house private equity arm

The financial services giant hired AIG executive Jackie Jenkins last year to lead the alternatives team, and is looking for someone to focus on the $3bn private equity portfolio.

Prudential Financial is searching for a senior investment professional to help run its private equity investment efforts as it works to manage an influx of alternative assets from corporate pension liabilities it took over from Verizon and General Motors.

Prudential hired former AIG executive Jackie Jenkins last fall to lead its alternative assets group, which manages $5 billion in assets comprised of private equity and hedge funds, real estate and other investments in real assets. The private equity portfolio has a net asset value of about $3 billion and includes investments in buyout, mezzanine, venture capital and distressed funds, according to Prudential’s web site.

Jenkins has been searching for an investment professional to focus on the private equity portfolio, sources have told Private Equity International.

Jackie
Jenkins

Jenkins spent more than two decades at MetLife, including several years working on distressed and other alternative investments.

Prudential has had private equity assets in its general account for many years but the pension’s “risk transfer” deals with Verizon and GM have added more, sources said. Verizon closed its transaction to transfer about $7.5 billion in liabilities to Prudential in December, while GM closed its transfer of about $26 billion in liabilities in November.

Verizon also outsourced management of a portion of its private equity and real estate holdings to Goldman Sachs last year. Goldman took over monitoring of the private equity portfolio, including attending LP meetings, due diligence and reviewing reports. The move impacted Verizon Investment Management Corporation’s in-house private equity team: Danielle Seger, manager of private equity, took a job with the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System last year. Pamela Lake, a director with the investment team, is no longer working at Verizon, a company spokesperson confirmed.

Jenkins’ group will be responsible for managing the private equity assets, though it’s not clear if Prudential will allocate any new capital to managers. The company declined to comment, though the job advertisement said the private equity role will include evaluation of funds for possible investment across asset classes. Also, the investment professional will “source and underwrite co-investments”.