CEO hails completion of deal
Aegon sets out adviser plans in ‘new era’
The £140 million deal was announced in August, adding £77.5 billion of assets, and supports Aegon’s strategy to be an investment trading platform business set up to serve the needs of intermediaries.
Unveiling new plans for its advisers, Adrian Grace, Aegon UK Chief Executive, said: “Today marks the start of a new era for both Aegon and Cofunds.
“The completion takes us a major step further in our transition from traditional life company to fully-fledged platform business.
“Our focus now is to help intermediaries grow their business, grow their profitability and manage their risk and costs effectively.
“What will set us apart from the competition is our commitment not to compete with advisers for distribution, and focus on our investment trading platform and providing the best service and tools.”
The company has set up an advisory board, bringing together 20 to 30 firms who represent intermediaries of all varieties and sizes to guide Aegon’s development.
It met for the first time last month and combined users of the Cofunds and Aegon platforms, as well as a number of other platforms.
Aegon outlined its intermediary focus, platform strategy and what users can expect to see in the coming months. It intends to combine the best of both the Aegon and Cofunds platforms through a technology upgrade approach.
This differs from a traditional re-platforming exercise, which typically means the build of a platform and migration of customers to it.
Instead the technology upgrade will take an established platform and add functionality and data to it. It says this will speed up the process.
Significant emphasis will be placed on enhanced digital service and a reduction in use of paper which Cofunds’ users had highlighted as being a key change they needed.
Advisers will benefit from the additional use of straight through processing which can reduce the possibility of manual errors and frees up time for client advice. User log-ins will remain the same to avoid problems being able to access the enhanced functionality.
In addition Cofunds users will benefit from a wider product range including the use of exchange traded funds, investment trusts, shares and an integrated pension.
While those who currently use the Aegon platform heard they will benefit from existing Cofunds’ features like pre-funding of trades, debit card acceptance and an improvement to the investment selection process. Access to this additional functionality will begin to roll out in the second half of 2017.
Mr Grace added: “By discussing our approach and progress with intermediaries from the outset we aim to deliver a platform that they feel invested in for the benefit of their business and their clients.
“While we recognise that we have a big task at hand which needs to be handled with care, it represents a fantastic opportunity to work with intermediaries to shape the future of the platform industry.”
Cofunds will continue to be led by David Hobbs and be run from its HQ in Witham, Essex, with operational staff also located in Hove, East Sussex.