PRUDENTIAL SECURITIES is taking a stab at various high-tech ways to re-establish market credibility in the wake of a string of scandals and embarrassments that have done little to enhance the value of its franchise to its parent, Newark, NJ-based Prudential Insurance Company of America.

Among them: an on-line order-placing service customers can use to communicate with their brokers from anywhere, an electronic bill presentment and payment system, a broadened Web-based financial mall, and leased IBM laptops to its financial advisors, according to Pru Securities evp Jack Witkowsky, director of strategic client initiatives.

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