US - Prudential Financial is integrating its Real Estate and Relocation businesses as Prudential Real Estate and Relocation Services Inc, in a bid to streamline the firm's business and operational services.

The combination of both operations is already underway, with immediate changes being made to restructure business development strategies, manage costs and improve productivity to gain greater focus on market opportunities, according to John Van Der Wall, chief executive officer for Prudential Financial.

"Aligning our business and operational functions is imperative as we move forward. Our real estate franchisees value the close link to our relocation activities, and in the current market environment that link takes on increased importance. Similarly, our relocation clients rely on our real estate expertise. Bringing these core competencies even closer together will result in a major advantage for our customers," said Van Der Wall.

The integration of the two services is scheduled to be complete in early 2009.

Prudential Financial, which had approximately $602bn (€413bn) in assets under management at the end of September, is creating "centralised support functions" across its departments, including Information technology, strategic planning and resources, marketing and communications and public Relations.

Van Der Wall told IPE Real Estate: "We are restructuring our business-development strategies and functions in real estate to gain efficiency and greater focus on market opportunities."

The firm is consolidating its Washington DC relocation service into its Phoenix office to leverage operations and resources provided at Phoenix, and expects the consolidation to be completed during the first half of 2009. Its government-related account executives and sales team will, however, continue to be based in Washington.

Earl Lee, who has been president of Prudential Relocation since 2007 and was president of Prudential Real Estate Affiliates (PREA) from 2000, will become president of the combined operations and oversee the integration process, reporting to Lee.

Prudential Financial has eliminated the regional president position in real estate and the senior vice president level at its relocation service but declined to say whether other redundancies were likely.

Prudential Real Estate has nearly 2,100 independently owned and operated franchises, making it one of the largest real estate brokerage franchises in the United States while
Prudential Relocation provides global relocation services to the largest corporations in the US and their employees, and has offices in the US, Europe and Asia.