Prudential Financial has finalized its purchase of variable annuity insurer American Skandia. The unit, launched by parent company Skandia in 1987, had suffered declines in assets and financial stability ratings prior to the acquisition.

"We believe the acquisition of American Skandia gives us a winning combination in the marketplace," said David Odenath, president of Prudential Annuities, the new division that combines the two companies’ annuity forces.

The acquisition moves Prudential up in sales from 22 nd place to 8 th place, according to LIMRA International, and in assets from 14 th place to 5 th place, according to VARDS. One of Prudential’s prime motivations for acquiring the carrier’s business, however, is access to the independent broker-dealer distribution channel for both annuities and mutual funds.

Judy Rice, president of Prudential Investments, will assume control of the combined mutual fund families. Michael Murray, SVP and national markets director of mutual funds at American Skandia, officially left the company.

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