Aegon buys Pension Geeks to boost customer message
Rachel Parkinson and Jonathan Bland (in black shirts) at an employee event
Aegon UK has acquired Pension Geeks, a company which helps consumers better understand the investment world.
Pension Geeks was founded in 2014 by business partners Jonathan Bland and Rachel Parkinson focused on bringing “energy, enthusiasm and simplicity to topics which many people would rather avoid”.
It has helped them build up a bank of clients who use the company to help explain workplace pensions and increasingly broader topics like financial wellbeing.
In recent years the Geeks have created Pension Awareness Day and worked in partnership with companies such as Aegon to deliver dozens of onsite employer events, covering off pension basics and engaging employees differently through innovative virtual reality headsets or caricature artists to help people picture their future selves.
They also devised the first-ever pensions and wellbeing digital platform for employers, housing webinars, a 1-to-1 chat facility, a Netflix style video library and other content to help employees get on board with their finances.
The spark that led to the creation of Pension Geeks came from a conversation between the couple when discussing their pension savings and the challenges of making sense of their money.
Mr Bland had trained as an animator and had studied under top industry professionals from major studios like Disney and Pixar, while Rachel’s background was in marketing – engaging younger people at the university she was working at. Together they agreed there was an opportunity to bring fresh thinking, storytelling and a new perspective to the world of pensions communications.
Aegon has been working with Pensions Geeks since 2018 and the relationship has gone from strength to strength as the Geeks have become increasingly important to enhancing the company’s workplace communication approach.
Today’s deal will mean the company’s founders continue to lead the organisation with Pension Geeks remaining operationally independent with their own clients, but with access to investment and resource from Aegon to grow the business.
The Pension Geeks will also continue to play an important role with Aegon’s workplace clients as together they offer energetic, accessible and engaging activities to employers seeking to explain their workplace benefits.
They will supplement a series of recent investments in member experience by Aegon, including its video summaries, the launch of a customer app and digital hub for employers to use to launch their scheme with impact when they join Aegon.
Mr Bland said: “Today represents a major milestone for the business and I’m thrilled that our future is with a partner that has been instrumental to our growth in recent years. Aegon’s commitment to helping customers achieve financial security is so aligned with our mission, so the cultural fit is absolutely perfect for us.
“Part of our success comes from the bold and creative culture we’ve established at Pension Geeks and with Aegon, we will continue to break the status quo with fresh and out of the box thinking when communicating financial topics.
“We’ve been into over 200 workplaces and spoken to thousands of people across the country about their savings and what we’ve found is that with the right approach and a bit of energy people will open up and ultimately leave conversations empowered about their savings.
“Having the investment, resource and backing from a huge global financial services provider like Aegon just means we can do more of this fantastic work. We can help more people and service more clients – that’s what excites me. I can’t wait for the next chapter!”
Mike Holliday-Williams Aegon UK chief executive said: “We’ve been massive fans of the Pension Geeks work for a number of years and have seen first-hand how powerful and popular their communications and events are with people.
“Strategically, customer centricity is a significant focus for us and we’ve invested heavily in member experience and personalised communications recently, so today’s acquisition further strengthens our capability in these areas.
“We’re keen they retain the independence that has made the business the success it is today and it will therefore operate separately to the main business but with the ability to draw on the investment and resource it needs to grow.
“We think there’s a lot we can learn from the work the Pension Geeks have done in recent years and ultimately believe our partnership will help improve our customers’ financial wellbeing.”