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Tim Woods. (Photo: PGIM)

Life Health > Running Your Business

Life Insurers Aim to Close Race-Linked Wealth Gap

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What You Need to Know

  • PGIM, an arm of Prudential, has hired Tim Woods to launch an HBCU Strategic Initiatives unit.
  • The PGIM unit will help set up student-run investment funds at HBCUs.
  • The programs and other personal finance education efforts aimed at college students could convince Gen Z consumers that saving and investing are ethical activities.

PGIM and OneAmerica are working to expand the retirement planning market — by trying to increase the odds that Black Americans will have the information they need to build savings and wealth.

PGIM has hired Timothy Woods, a veteran asset manager, to spearhead its HBCU Strategic Initiatives. Woods’ team will help historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) start student-run investment funds.

His team will also provide support and training at HBCUs, establish scholarships for HBCU students, and develop other HBCU support strategies.

Another life insurer, OneAmerica, has agreed to work with The American College of Financial Services to make a personal finance education program available through schools and nonprofit organizations throughout central Indiana. The American College originally developed the program for students at HBCUs.

As part of the agreement, OneAmerica will provide $1 million in program funding over five years. OneAmerica CEO Scott Davison said in a comment about the project that he hopes the new program will establish a foundation for economic empowerment and wealth building.

What It Means

For advisory firms, the outreach efforts could prove to be a new source of talent. For advisors, the programs could be a critical vehicle for marketing capitalism.

The programs and other personal finance education efforts aimed at college students could persuade Generation Z consumers that saving and investing are ethical activities.

PGIM’s Program

PGIM is an asset management arm of Prudential Financial — a Newark, New Jersey-based company that led campaigns to pasteurize milk and stop smoking, but also employed an actuary who, in the early 1900s, became a leading advocate of race-based life insurance pricing.

Prudential Financial has spent decades throwing off that past and working to support urban development efforts in Newark and elsewhere. Prudential has contributed $3 million to HBCU support efforts. It’s building a relationship with Hampton University and is establishing a partnership with Florida A&M University.

Woods, the head of the new effort, has been a senior managing director and senior equity analyst at Lisanti Capital Growth. Before that, he was a portfolio manager at Deutsche Asset Management and Clearbridge Investments, and a senior equity analyst at the JPMorgan Large Cap Growth Fund.

He has a bachelor’s degree from Florida A&M and a master’s degree in business from Wharton. He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst professional designation.

OneAmerica’s Program

OneAmerica says its alliance with the American College will “offer practical financial understanding to build a personal relationship with finance and drive economic empowerment, with a focus on narrowing the racial wealth gap.”

The program will offer online financial wellness classes with support from Martin University, Ivy Tech Community College and other organizations. Program managers will tailor the content delivered through the program to fit with the needs and interests of central Indiana residents, organizers say.

Organizers are planning to start offering classes in August. The classes will be free for the participants.

Pictured: Timothy Woods. (Photo: PGIM)