Arthur Ryan, Chairman & CEO of Prudential Financial

This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, December 13, 2001.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, the folks over at Prudential Financial couldn't be happier. Investors cheering the company's Wall Street debut, as Prudential began trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The company raised $3 billion in the stock offering, making it one of the most successful IPOs ever. One-hundred and ten million shares of "the rock," as it's known, were offered at $27.50 a pop. And by the close of trade, its stock closed up 6.5 percent, or almost $2 a share.

Earlier I spoke with the company's chairman and CEO, Arthur Ryan, and I asked him if he expected the IPO to be this big.


ARTHUR RYAN, CHMN & CEO, PRUDENTIAL FINANCIAL: You go through two phases. One, you say, ah, this is going to be terrific. And then it starts hitting you, saying, well, what if nobody really wants to buy it? So I would say right now we feel really good.

CAVUTO: Let me get your sense. I mean, there was a reluctance about IPOs, that maybe the market wasn't what it was, and that maybe, especially financial insurance-related IPOs wouldn't do well. You said the hell with it, I'm going full steam ahead. Obviously, no regrets.

RYAN: None, whatsoever. I think that over the last couple of years we worked very hard to get to this point. We certainly had to rethink everything after September, as everyone else did. There are a lot more important things in life, obviously, than stocks and companies. But as we got into October, I think we were similar to others, in saying, look, we know what we're doing, let's go forward. Let's go for it. And fortunately, things turned out pretty well for us so far.

CAVUTO: Now, financial-related issues have enjoyed a comeback, or certainly weathered the storm better than other issues. That's been a nice ride. Do you see it continuing?

RYAN: Yes, I think so. I think that, relative to other industries, there are certain parts of financial services that have been hit pretty hard. The monetary policy effects have helped. Some of the consumer spending has been OK.

I think the real issue that we have is to get corporate America, capital spending, back on track. And I think financial services will do very well...

CAVUTO: When? When do you see that happening, Arthur? Everyone's talking about a second, third quarter turnaround.

RYAN: Yes, I would agree with that. I don't see it before the second quarter at all.

CAVUTO: Really?

RYAN: Yes, you know, I don't think we're going to fall back fall off the end of the earth, but I think it's going to be more gradual than some have predicted, and I think it is a second-quarter event. But as long as we can continue in the right direction and not regress, then I'm pretty comfortable that we'll get it done right.

I heard some of the comments earlier about Japan. I mean, one of the issues there is, they do a stimulus, it isn't the whole solution, and then they just fall back again. That's the last thing we want.

CAVUTO: Let me ask you — it's a tacky question, Arthur, I'll get it out of the way, though. You're a very rich man today. And a lot of the people at Prudential are very rich people today. Does that change your work ethic, when you're obscenely rich?

RYAN: Well, the problem is, I'm not. You see...

CAVUTO: I don't know, Arthur. I've been tallying the numbers. You're looking OK.

RYAN: Yes, but I'm not eligible to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the stock for about a year.

CAVUTO: That's true. Well, your family must be itching to get at it.

RYAN: Well, my family is very excited about getting at it.


RYAN: But to answer your question, I don't think I'm obscenely rich at all. But let's say I have been lucky in my life. I don't complain at all about that, and I wouldn't change the work ethic. I mean, I think what you — there is part that you — you know, you enjoy the benefits of it, let's not deny it. But on the other hand, there's something more than simply the financials that drive you to do this kind of stuff. And I don't see any change in my behavior, from that point of view.


CAVUTO: All right, Arthur Ryan.

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