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Pensions firm 'on track'

Aegon hits asset milestone as earnings grow

Adrian GraceAegon chief executive Adrian Grace says recent moves to grow the business are “on track and on budget”, supported by a number of corporate workplace wins.

In its first update since the acqusition of Cofunds, the company has reported a key asset milestone, record inflows and earnings for the first quarter up by 45%.

Mr Grace said: “We’re pleased to announce that the platform business has passed a major milestone with combined assets of £102 billion.

“We believe scale will be vital in the platform market and a record quarter of new sales on the Aegon platform and the strong performance of Cofunds in Q1 put us in an excellent position.

“As a business focused on intermediaries and their clients, we recognise that it’s the quality of the platform service and user experience which is paramount.

“The technology upgrade approach we’ve outlined to our Advisory Board and to the market, is designed to combine the best of both the platforms. We’re confident in our ability to deliver the project as we’re working with established technology and while there’s a lot hard work ahead we’re pleased with our progress to date and are on track and on budget.

“We’re committed to investing in our platform to deliver the best tools and services to enable intermediaries to grow their business, grow their profitability, better serve their customers and manage their risk and costs effectively.”

Strong earnings and protection results

“In addition to the progress we’ve made with assets on the platform, we’re able to report earnings of £31m, up 45% on the same period last year. This profit figure represents strong new business flows, a focus on customer retention and effective cost management all aided by a buoyant stock market.

“The acquisition of BlackRock’s DC business completed in the second half of last year we’re already seeing the benefits of the deal. The transaction has enhanced our workplace offer, particularly for larger employers, and we’ve had a number of significant corporate wins in recent months.

There’s a lot of momentum behind our protection proposition which continues to form a core part of our offer to intermediaries. Our ambition is to help more families and businesses protect themselves against the unexpected and we have exciting plans to digitize our protection service proposition in the year ahead. This will reduce processing times and improve the customer experience.”

Demand for pension advice

“The record new business flows of £1.2bn coming on to the Aegon ARC platform is representative of a number of broader trends.

“The uncertain political outlook is being offset by strong market performance and resilient consumer confidence while the pension freedoms continue to drive advice opportunities with the growth of drawdown including with guarantees.

“Anecdotally advisers are telling us that enquiries about DB to DC transfers remain high, with demand for advice exceeding supply. With advisers naturally cautious, there’s a growing consensus that the FCA could benefit the market by offering regulatory clarity on what it expects from transfer advice, so that advisers can respond to customer requests for advice with confidence.”

Highlights

·        Both platforms perform strongly with assets rising to:

o   Aegon platform assets of £15.2bn

o   Cofunds platform assets of £86.8bn

·        Business reports quarterly earnings of £31 million

 

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