Aegon has invited UK-wide advisers to join a new panel to discuss the future of its recently acquired fund platform Cofunds, as well as general regulatory issues and client concerns.
The financial giant, which provides retirement, savings and solutions to more than two million UK customers, has been taking feedback from the industry since its Cofunds takeover was completed at the end of December 2016.
It now plans to extend this policy indefinitely, by asking advisers to join an online panel where they can share their views.
“We’ve spoken to many intermediaries in the weeks since the Cofunds deal completed and all the feedback on the future of the platform industry has been extremely valuable,” said Mark Till, chief distribution and marketing officer at Aegon.
“By closely involving them in helping to shape our plans, we will co-create a platform business that they feel they’ve invested in, and ultimately one that benefits their business and their clients.
“The online panel, in conjunction with our advisory board will be an important part of this process and in addition to gathering intermediaries’ views on platform and proposition, we’ll ensure that views on the issues affecting advisory businesses are heard in our conversations with government and the regulator.”
However, the news has been met with a tepid response by advisers who claim that it doesn’t necessarily add value.
“We have access to them already in terms of having clients with them and putting pensions with them,” said Edward Thomas Wilby of Coloma Wealth Management, adding that he probably won’t join the online panel, but its existence might make him more likely to work with Aegon in the future.
“It’s very good for the advisers who work with providers because their word tends to vary more weight than ours,” said Peter Faiers, an independent financial planner at Radcliffe and Newlands.
“We tend to be ignored when we speak out, so it would give us a stronger voice if we all worked together.
“Advisers as a whole are very badly organised, but there’s a strong minority who like this sort of thing."
However, Faiers added that he probably won’t be joining the panel due to time constraints.
Aegon is hoping to recruit a broad spectrum of intermediaries from across the UK.
The online panel will sit alongside the firm’s existing advisory board which met for the first time in December.