Prudential Financial Inc., Newark, N.J., has responded to new terrorism warnings by strengthening security.[@@]

Parking facilities at Prudential headquarters are still open, but extra security measures include concrete barriers and other steps that Prudential spokesman Michael Arcaro declines to explain in detail.

Adoption of the new security measures follows the publication of reports warning that Al Qaeda-sponsored terrorists have planned attacks on leading U.S. financial institutions. In addition to Prudential’s headquarters, the threats refer to the New York Stock Exchange and the headquarters of Citigroup Inc., New York.

“Prudential Financial has responded to yesterday’s announced terrorism threat to the company’s Newark facilities by taking additional security precautions in and around these locations,” Arcaro says. “Added security and local law enforcement personnel along with safety barricades and additional screening procedures were in place early this morning. Employees are reporting to work, and it remains business as usual for the company’s operations.”

About 1,000 people work in the company’s headquarters building on Broad Street, while another 5,000 work in other locations in Newark, Arcaro says.

The company plans to keep employees informed regularly about security measures and also is making counselors available through its regular employee assistance program to those who need to talk about their fears, Arcaro says.

Heightened security measures also were in place at Exchange Place in Jersey City, N.J., where a number of financial institutions relocated operations from the New York financial district following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorism attacks.