Aegon to launch non-advised platform in H1 2014

Aegon UK has posted a £5m drop in its underlying earnings before tax of £18m in the last three months of 2013, due to a £7m investment in its self-advised platform aimed at non-advised clients.

In its quarterly results, published today (20 February), Aegon said earnings for pensions amounted to a £9m loss.

Aegon said this was largely due to spending on its self-service platform aimed at non-advised clients, which is planned for the first half of 2014.

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It had spent £7m relating to a “digital capability for non-advised clients” to facilitate the upgrade to the platform and a “one-time loss” of £2m.

Adverse persistency in markets amounted to £4m in the fourth quarter, which was driven by outflow from the individual non-platform business, Aegon said.

The results said: “Driving corporate business from pre-RDR propositions onto the platform is a key focus going forward given the relative immaturity of the corporate platform market.

“In light of the evolving market and regulatory changes, development of a front-end technology interface on the platform is key to gain better engagement and interaction with customers.

“This development, to be implemented in first half of 2014, will position Aegon in the broader savings and retirement market across the individual and corporate market. This will be built on the same technology as the Aegon Retirement Choices platform.”

Previously in its Q3 2013 results, Aegon revealed it was spending money to create the non-advised offering, following hints in 2012.

In addition, platform assets continued to grow during the fourth quarter of 2013, reaching £1.3bn by the end of 2013.

Adrian Grace, chief executive of Aegon UK, said: “We’ve now reported strong quarterly results for the past eight quarters. Our solutions are being well received with sales for the year up 13 per cent on the previous year.

“More importantly we have managed to do this while continuing to invest in the transformation of the business from a traditional product provider to a digital platform business. In the last quarter we made strides in this transformation, bringing both servicing and development capabilities of our multi award winning platform, Aegon Retirement Choices, in-house to Edinburgh and completing a recruitment drive for 200 new platform roles.

“This year we will launch a technology based solution for the non-advised market, which will then be offered to our adviser partners so they can provide a solution that best meets their customer’s needs while also fitting with their post RDR business model.

“Aegon’s ambition is to get the UK ready for retirement and we believe we can help to cover the pensions gap by offering customers simple, rewarding and reassuring digital solutions that will help them towards the retirement they want.”