Harry Dalessio

Senior Vice President of Strategic Relationships at Prudential

PA: Our business is changing rapidly, as is the role of the adviser. Talk a little about some of those changes and the roles that advisers will play going forward.

Dalessio: From a macro perspective, the lifeblood of our business is advisers. All of our business is intermediated, and advisers continue to play a more critical role with their clients.

For advisers in general, the number one thing we see them focused on is the differentiation. Their marketplace has become more and more competitive. Advisers need to demonstrate their value-add, and demonstrate that they’re delivering outcomes for their clients and their participants.

PA: What are some things that you can do to help advisers in that space?

Dalessio: Certainly we’re confident in our product innovation and really focused on creating solutions for the challenges that exist in the marketplace today, but for the last 18 to 24 months, a lot of the work we’ve been doing for advisers has been around their value-add and how they differentiate themselves. We’ve really been focused on three things.

First, the industry needs leadership now more than ever, and advisers are on the front lines of doing that. Second, how do we change the conversation? How do we help advisers better connect with plan sponsors and their participants to drive the right behaviors?

Third, we use so much jargon in our business, how do we humanize it more? How do we better connect with the end user?

The approach we’ve taken with advisers has been around helping them build their practice by providing them with the tools they need to be winners in a rapidly consolidating market.

PA: Prudential is an obvious market leader in the retirement income space. How does that play with the adviser community?

Dalessio: Retirement income has seen an evolution as it relates to the institutional side of the business. At the retail level, retirement income has been a prominent solution for a long time.

For advisers, their clients’ participants are living longer. With that, a few things come to mind. Retirement planning got that much harder. Retirement income is going to have to last a lot longer than anyone had predicted. So, I think that there are varying camps in the evolution of retirement income in the defined contribution (DC) market, but we expect that to be a continued growth market over the next five years.