Aegon UK gets platform back on track

Adrian Grace said total assets under administration had reached �158.5bn. Picture: Contributed
Adrian Grace said total assets under administration had reached �158.5bn. Picture: Contributed
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Adrian Grace, the head of Edinburgh-based Aegon UK, has said its platform’s service levels are getting back on track following months of disruption while revealing an increase in the insurer’s second-half earnings.

Last spring, the firm shifted Cofunds retail clients onto its new Aegon platform, but this was followed by a number of technology issues.

Unveiling results for the second half of 2018, chief executive Grace said the new platform’s service had now returned to “target levels”.

“We placed a huge emphasis on restoring service levels associated with the Aegon platform following the migration of former Cofunds users to it in May,” he said.

“Between July and December significant strides were made and resource mobilised to address service issues. By the end of the year core operational services had returned to target levels. The focus now for the Aegon platform is on ensuring we provide the enhancements that advisers have requested and migrating the Nationwide book of business.

“We are clear on the functionality that needs to be prioritised for the coming months and beyond this have a continual programme of improvements planned for the service.”

Grace also highlighted the extension of the firm’s relationship with Atos, after a 15-year contract was sealed covering hundreds of thousands of additional policies.

In the second half, total assets under administration reached £158.5 billion, with assets on the firm’s own platform totalling £128bn.

Earnings at Aegon UK, which acquired Cofunds from Legal & General in August 2016, increased by 24 per cent to £53 million taking the haul to £110m for the year as a whole.

Grace added: “This was a strong performance against a backdrop of relatively volatile stock markets, and a slowdown in the defined benefit transfer market and reflects both the diversified nature of Aegon’s business and a consistent strategy in our core markets.

“As an intermediated business, our focus is firmly on supporting the needs of advisers and their individual and employer clients, by providing pensions, investments and protection products through our digital platform services.

“There is significant momentum behind our workplace savings business following the completion of our acquisition of BlackRock’s defined contribution business last year.”

He added: “With individuals increasingly expected to plan for their own financial futures, against a backdrop of political and economic uncertainty, we are seeing a split between the haves and the have nots – those with and without access to an adviser.”

The UK numbers came as Dutch parent Aegon NV reported an 8.1 per cent drop in underlying pre-tax profit for the second half. Pre-tax profit came in at €1.01bn (£887m) for the six-month period ended 31 December.