The Financial Services Authority has publicly humiliated and savaged Prudential's management for failing to put investors before costs.
The attack this week is the result of a monitoring inspection which forced Pru to pull its 5,500-strong salesforce off the road for three days in June.
The FSA found: "A deep-seated and long-standing failure in management which prevented Prudential from recog- nising its own shortcomings. A cultural disposition against compliance which filtered through Prudential's branch offices, their managers and advisers. Prudential had an organisational structure which allowed the cost of its own compliance arrangements to take precedence over the interests of its investors."
It says Pru contravened principles under section 47A of the Financial Services Act 1986.
Pru chief executive Sir Peter Davis says: "No one should doubt our determination to ensure that we have the best industry practices."