Aegon CEO asks IFAs to trust the insurer again

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The biggest challenge facing Aegon is getting intermediaries to trust the provider again, following a difficult couple of years, Adrian Grace, chief executive of Aegon, said.

In an interview with FTAdviser, to be published later today (2 March), Mr Grace admits there is “no doubt” that Aegon “lost its way” a couple of years ago.

In the last few years, there have been well-documented issues with administration problems at Scottish Equitable, it has had to pay £25m in consumer redress and received a £2.8m fine by the FSA.

Mr Grace said: “I think that we have taken the admin problems head on. What we have tried to do first of all is make sure that any customer who has or had detriment as a result of those admin issues have been rewarded.

“We have paid out all of that money and we are now in a good place in terms of clearing up the history.

“Importantly what we have also done is recognise that we had to change as a business so we have spent multiple millions of pounds - it is certainly double digit millions - in investing in new telephony systems, investing in new workflow systems, investing in new staff.

“We recognised that we had a problem and we are doing something about it.”

He admitted the FSA legacy detriment was a “real wake-up call” for Aegon and it allowed it to understand what the problems were.

Mr Grace said: “You cannot build a business without solid foundations and that is what we are putting in place.”

When asked how Aegon can get IFAs to trust them again, Mr Grace agreed the biggest challenge was getting people to believe.

He said: “We are building a new Aegon and we are building it in a very different way to how it was built before.

“We are focusing on two core markets - at retirement and workplace - and that means that we have got a critical focus and our investment in telephony and workflow solutions means that we will have some of the best technology in the market place and I have to try to get those messages across to the market.

“Yes we lost our way a couple of years ago and it was very difficult to deal with the legacy issues that we were left with.