Life and pensions firm Aegon UK has delivered a jump in first-quarter profits, driven by an upturn in demand for its online retirement planning service.
The Edinburgh-based group, which employs about 2,200 people, took in an additional £1 billion of savings in the three months to March, tripling its volumes year on year and taking its platform assets to £4bn.
Chief executive Adrian Grace told The Scotsman: “We said we would grow this year and £1bn in the first quarter puts us in the premier league. We’re particularly pleased about the growth of our non-advised Retiready solution. Only 11 per cent of people do their pensions online, whereas in general insurance it’s 70 per cent, and 85 per cent for banking. Online pensions are the way to go and there’s clearly customer demand.”
Underlying pre-tax earnings at the Dutch-owned firm rose 27 per cent to £28 million in the first quarter, while operating expenses fell 18 per cent to £64m.
Grace said that, in the wake of “pension freedom” changes introduced last month that allow those aged over 55 to take their entire pension pot as a cash lump sum, Aegon had seen a surge in customer queries, with its call centre handling 40 per cent more calls than a year ago.