Vice Chairman at Prudential Financial
Thank you, Charlie. I'll provide an overview of our financial results and business performance for our PGIM, US, and international businesses. I'll begin on Slide 7 with our financial results for the third quarter. Our pretax adjusted operating income was $1.8 billion or $3.78 per share on an after-tax basis, and reflected the benefit of strong markets and business growth, which exceeded the net mortality impacts from COVID-19. PGIM, our global asset manager, had record high asset management fees, driven by record account values of over $1.5 trillion that were offset by lower other related revenues relative to the elevated level in the year ago quarter, as well as higher expenses supporting business growth. Results of our US business increased approximately 29% from the year ago quarter and reflected higher net investment spread, driven by higher variable investment income. And higher fee income, primarily driven by equity market appreciation, partially offset by less favorable underwriting experience, driven by COVID-19 related mortality. Earnings in our international businesses increased 14%, reflecting continued business growth, higher net investment spread, lower expenses and higher earnings from joint venture investments. This increase was partially offset by less favorable underwriting results, primarily driven by higher COVID-19 claims.
Turning to slide 8. PGIM continues to demonstrate the strength of its diversified capabilities in both public and private asset classes across fixed income, alternatives, real estate, and equities, as a top 10 global active investment manager. PGIMs investment performance remains attractive with more than 94% of assets under management, outperforming their benchmarks over the last three, five and 10 year periods. Third-party net flows were $300 million in the quarter, including institutional net flows of $700 million, primarily driven by public fixed income flows. Modest resale net outflows of $400 million were due to equity outflows from sub-advised mandates and client reallocations due to rising rates and inflation concerns.
As the investment engine of Prudential, PGIM benefits from a mutually beneficial relationship with our US and international insurance businesses. PGIM's asset origination capabilities and investment management expertise, provide a competitive advantage by helping our businesses to bring enhanced solutions and more value to our customers. And our businesses in turn provide a source of growth for PGIM through affiliated flows that compliment its successful third-party track record of growth. PGIM's asset management fees reached another record, up 13% compared to the year ago quarter, as a result of strong flows driven by investment performance and market depreciation. PGIM's alternatives business, which has assets in excess of $250 billion continues to demonstrate momentum across private credit and real estate equity and debt, benefiting by our global scale and market-leading positions. As an example, PGIM's private businesses deployed almost $12 billion of capital this quarter, 28% more than the year ago quarter. This strategic focus on expanding higher yielding products has resulted in stable fee rates over time despite industry wide fee pressures.
Now, turning to slide 9. Our US business produced diversified earnings from fees, net investment spread, and underwriting income, and benefit from our complimentary mix of longevity and mortality businesses. We continue to shift our business mix away from low growth, capital intensive, and interest rate sensitive products and businesses, transform our capabilities and cost structure, and expand our addressable markets. In addition to the agreement that we announced in July to sell our full service retirement business, this quarter we also announced the sale of a portion of our legacy in force annuities block to reduce the overall contribution of traditional, variable annuities. These transactions are significant steps forward in shifting our business mix and product portfolio to reduce market sensitivity and accelerate long-term growth. In addition, our product pivots have worked well, demonstrated by continued strong sales of our buffered annuity products, which were $1.3 billion in the third quarter, representing 88% of total individual annuity sales.
Since the launch of FlexGuard in 2020, sales have exceeded $6 billion. These sales reflect customer demand for investment solutions that offer the potential for appreciation from equity markets, combined with downside protection. We have also exercised disciplined through frequent pricing actions, and our sales continue to benefit from having a strong and trusted brand and highly effective distribution team. Also, our individual life sales continue to be strong and reflect our product pivot strategy, with higher variable life sales compared to the year ago quarter.
Our retirement business reflected strong sales in the quarter, including a $5.2 billion funded pension risk transfer transaction and $1.6 billion of international reinsurance transactions, demonstrating our market leading capabilities. With respect to assurance, our digitally enabled to distribution platform, total revenues, our primary financial metric, as we concentrate on scaling the business, were up 47% over the prior year quarter. During the third quarter, we increased a number of agents to prepare for the seasonally higher expected demand of the Medicare annual enrollment period that occurs in the fourth quarter.
Turning to slide 10. Our international businesses include our Japanese life insurance operation where we have a differentiated multichannel distribution model, as well as other operations focused on high-growth emerging markets. Sales across both Life Planner and Gibraltar operations were higher than last quarter amidst state of emergency in Japan that ended on September 30. However, sales were lower than the prior year quarter, which were elevated ahead of the US dollar denominated product repricing in Japan that we implemented in the third quarter of last year. We also continue to see sales momentum in Brazil, particularly within the third party distribution channel. We remain encouraged by the resiliency of our unique distribution capabilities which have supported the continued growth of our in-force business.
And with that, I'll hand it over to Ken.