Prudential Annuities, the domestic annuity business for Prudential Financial, has added AST BlackRock Global Strategies Portfolio and AST Wellington Management Hedged Equity Portfolio, two new investment options to its lineup of asset allocation offerings.

These two additions bring the number of alternative strategies to six and the total number of asset allocation portfolios that investors can combine to diversify among asset classes, investment styles and exposure to alternative investments to 18.

Prudential said that AST BlackRock Global Strategies Portfolio will deliver a flexible, broad-ranging mandate that is designed specifically for use with Prudential Annuities’ products.

AST Wellington Management Hedged Equity Portfolio is an equity asset allocation that uses an index-option overlay in an attempt to provide downside market protection.

Prudential Annuities vice president of Investment Management Douglas McIntosh said that , "We believe expanding our offering to include six portfolios that provide exposure to alternative investment strategies strengthens the focus we initiated in 2006, and will help to further enhance the daily step-up component of our industry-leading guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit."

BlackRock’s Strategic Alliances Group managing director and head Mike Saliba said that this portfolio is tailored specifically for Prudential Annuities’ investors and taps into some of the strongest talent and leading-edge risk management capabilities.