Prudential Insurance and Prudential Financial (or Investment Management, PGIM) are two separate entities.  My impression or definition of LifeCo is a life insurance carrier trying to meet its future obligations getting steady core like returns.

Prudential Financial (now PGIM) is an investment management company that has 10 or so funds each with different return characteristics.  I don’t know what the funds are called today, but 15 years ago you had PRISA (core), PRISA II (value add), PRISA III (opportunistic), merchant bank (OpCo investing), probably a Mezz program, and several separate accounts.  
 

The definitions seem a bit confusing (LifeCo, MF, etc) but I consider these Mega Funds, plural.  

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Also, Apollo is not a mega fund in the context of real estate equity/opportunity funds. Those guys barely break $1 billion. Solidly middle market, solidly mediocre.

 
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Of who you listed, people in RE know PGIM has a better investment reputation and better relationships with sponsors than than KKR, TPG, Bain, and Apollo. At least in equity.

That being said, LifeCo rep in the biz is driven mainly by being a much earlier entrant into RE than PE firms. MetLife built StuyTown in the 1940s. PGIM created the first ODCE fund in the 1970s.

All the PE firms pay better, especially at the junior level. But will also work you harder. Lifecos are overstaffed less economics to share. Lifeco is also an unfair term at least on equity side as all the big ones have sophisticated built out very large fund platforms with third party investors.

If you're a junior person you should be pretty agnostic, but I guess working harder is correlated with learning more. If you're experienced (Associate + Sr Associate), your target should probably be PE as Lifecos are core and open end product biased = less/no carry to allocate. PE firm would put you on a better path to get that. Clarion, BGO, CBRE GI, LaSalle are in similar boats. Key lesson if you're experienced is avoid predominance of capital coming from open end or core. Yes learned this mistake personally...

 

As someone who worked at a Life Co - they won’t allocate you carry but they will allocate you ‘phantom carry.’ So for example, my life co paid out dollars based on phantom equity provided, which would vest on a 4 year schedule and had the ability to increase in value based on earnings of the company. Effectively it was their way of competing with carry and making your compensation more in line with PE firms. 

 

Megafund as a distinction is a little relevant in corporate PE because larger fund sizes means you do larger deals, which theoretically are different from smaller deals (and there are pros and cons to working on large vs mid vs small cap deals).

Just my opinion, but the distinction is less meaningful in real estate since funds of all sizes will look at similar deals (with some exceptions for firms that focus on portfolio/corporate transactions and micro funds). Will you get similar underwriting experiences working for pgim as you would ares? Probably since you'll be looking at the same deals. Are they equivalent? You probably want to look at location, firm culture, promotion track, comp, etc.

 

I’d rather quit the biz than work for a sleepy life co like PGIM…

 

Who fucking cares. They buy RE. Period. 

Seriously. I don't understand the point of this thread other than some 22 year old bragging to his friends that he works at a "megafund" 

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