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Time for ABI to redefine its role

Time for ABI to redefine its role

The ABI must redefine its role or risk sinking into irrelevance, Eamonn Flanagan has said.

Following the announcement last week that Aegon UK is to leave the industry body, the senior analyst at Liverpool-based Shore Capital questioned what was ABI’s raison d’être.

“In the past, the life and pensions companies were full-on competitors to the asset managers and the ABI served a purpose to defend its patch. Now that demarcation has blurred significantly with the ABI running the risk of antagonising the parent companies of the asset managers by defending the life and pensions industry.”

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Mr Flanagan said Aegon and Legal & General (L&G) were good examples of a more conglomerate structure of life, pensions and asset management.

“Both have distinct units within the business. L&G has L&G Investment Management and Aegon has Kames Capital,” he said.

On 15 September, Aegon announced it would leave ABI at the end of the year.

Chief executive Adrian Grace said the time was right to separate from the body in order to focus on its strategic aims, and put forward its views directly to the government and regulators.

Last December, L&G relinquished its membership citing changes to the constitution and mandate of the body, as a result of the transfer of investment business to the Investment Association.

Industry View

Lorna Wiltshire, PR communications specialist at Ageas, said: “As a leading general insurer, Ageas intends to keep working with and supporting the ABI on issues that affect the industry and our customers. We will continue to support the ABI in effecting change where necessary for the benefit of our customers.”