Life and pensions group Aegon UK is to embark on a major restructuring of its sales operation, casting doubts over the future of about 160 jobs.
The Edinburgh-based firm has already shed more than 1,000 jobs over the past two years in a bid to lower its running costs, and said the latest shake-up reflected an increasing shift towards doing business online.
While the Dutch-owned company said it was too early to confirm the number of redundancies, about 160 roles will be affected as it closes all six of its regional sales offices – in Glasgow, Birmingham, Bristol, Guildford, London and Manchester – over the next six months. Back-office support roles will bear the brunt of any cuts, as the company will be retaining the majority of its face-to-face sales staff.
Aegon’s retail managing director, Duncan Jarrett, said: “The distribution structure has served us fantastically well in the past, but we must evolve to provide for the adviser community, helping us to strengthen and develop profitable relationships.”
Staff union Aegis described the shake-up as “devastating news for the group’s adviser-facing sales community”.
General secretary Brian Linn said: “Whilst we understand the business, economic, technological and regulatory drivers for change, we are focusing on how we can best support our members at this difficult time.
“We will work with the company throughout the consultation period to identify as many redeployment opportunities as possible for affected staff.”
With the closure of the sales centres, financial advisers will be served by telephone account managers based in Manchester and a centralised customer services function in Edinburgh.
Aegon will also be creating a small number of jobs in Edinburgh because of “unprecedented demand” for its Aegon Retirement Choices platform, which helps financial advisers and their customers keep track of their investments online.
The number of “platform implementation” roles will rise from 19 to 42, and overall the group said 43 sales roles will created around the UK.