9am news briefing

HUNDREDS of city finance jobs are under threat after Dutch insurance group Aegon announced a major overhaul of its UK operations.

Aegon has warned of job losses among its 3,700 UK life and pensions employees - 2,400 of which are employed in Edinburgh.

The group aims to cut UK costs by 25 per cent by the end of next year under a plan to refocus the business and pull out of unprofitable areas.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Aegon said it was too early to say how this would impact staff, but it plans to give more details at the end of September.

The group's UK life and pensions arm will take the brunt of the cost-cutting.

This division employs around 2,400 staff in Edinburgh, 670 at Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, and 630 in sales roles across the UK.

Aegon chairman Alexander Wynaendts said plans to trim annual UK costs by 80 million would have a "significant" impact on its British workforce.

"We're not at this point sharing much more detail, but it is clear it will have a significant impact on our UK business and also an impact on our employment," he said.

He confirmed the company had looked at a possible sale of the UK business, but decided it would not offer the best value for shareholders in the current market.

Recent speculation has suggested the group is seeking to ready its British business for sale, but he said the restructure would see it make a "long-term commitment to the UK".

Aegon plans to withdraw its UK business from bulk annuities – bought by firms that run final salary pension schemes to provide an income for their workers who retire.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It will instead focus solely on the "at retirement" market and workplace savings, including the popular DIY-style self-invested personal pensions (SIPPs).

The group stressed its cost-cutting review would not have an impact on Aegon Ireland, while the UK asset management business and distribution arms, Origen and Positive Solutions, were also not under the scope of the review.

• AN Edinburgh couple are today set to pick up a cheque for 2 million at Tynecastle Stadium after a massive win on Saturday's Lotto draw.

The couple, who are lifelong Hearts fans, will collect the National Lottery prize at the Gorgie ground as part of their celebrations.

The pair, who have not yet been named, were expected to reveal how they planned to spend their new-found fortune during the event.

• AN 'Anywhere But England' holiday competition at an Edinburgh shopping centre is being investigated by police for stirring up cross-border World Cup hostility.

Cameron Toll shopping centre is offering shoppers the chance to win an all-expenses-paid trip to the country that wins the football tournament.

However, it has attracted a complaint by marketing the 2,000 prize with the hope that England lose.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The banner includes the words: 'Anywhere but England please'.

• PARENTS fighting to save a private city school admit they are running out of time to raise the cash they need.

An appeal for 2.5m to secure the future of St Margaret's School in Newington, which went into administration earlier this month, is understood to have raised just 100,000.

Last ditch talks were taking place today between the parents' consortium and liquidators KPMG.

• HUNDREDS of Scots have lodged objections at Holyrood to a controversial bid to legalise assisted suicide in the country.

People as young as 16 would be allowed to kill themselves at special suicide clinics under the plans put forward by Independent MSP Margo MacDonald.

But a public consultation, published yesterday, revealed that 86 per cent of the 601 respondents were against the right-to-die laws.

Ms MacDonald, who has incurable Parkinson's disease, estimates her Bill would help 55 Scots a year to die.