‘Resilient’ first-half result for Edinburgh-based Aegon UK amid pandemic turmoil

Aegon UK, the Edinburgh-based pensions provider, has cheered a “resilient performance in challenging markets” after cost efficiencies led to a rise in first-half earnings.

Aegon UK chief executive Mike Holliday-Williams pointed to some strong tailwinds.

Underlying earnings before tax were up 17 per cent to £71 million, compared with the first half of 2019.

The firm’s sales performance was described as “robust”, despite the volatile markets, with gross deposits more than doubling to £6.4 billion. That increase was largely driven by institutional platform net deposits, which Aegon noted can be “lumpy”.

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Net deposits amounted to £1.8bn compared with a net outflow of £2.4bn a year earlier. The group said assets had recovered following the stock market sell off and ended the first half at £174bn, including £143bn of platform assets.

Chief executive Mike Holliday-Williams said: “We have a resilient business that has performed well in challenging markets. The growth in earnings reflects an 11 per cent reduction in our cost base as we realise the benefits of having consolidated our platforms on a common set of technology.

“The gradual recovery in stock markets following the coronavirus sell-off has meant that total assets have largely rebounded and now stand at £174bn – close to the level where they started the year.”

He added: “There are strong tailwinds behind advisers who are benefiting from client demand for retirement advice in particular and in the workplace market, where the government has shown its full commitment to auto-enrolment during furlough.”

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The Big Interview: Aegon UK CEO Mike Holliday-Williams

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