Aegon on why Cofunds upgrade won’t be like Aviva’s

Aegon on why Cofunds upgrade won’t be like Aviva’s

Aegon has pledged its forthcoming upgrade of the Cofunds platform won’t descend into the sort of debacles that have blighted rivals.

Aegon announced this morning (21 March) that it intends to begin its integration of Cofunds, which it acquired in 2016, into its Arc platform, over the May bank holiday weekend, with service due to resume on 8 May.

Rivals having already attempted such upgrades have faced a litany of problems.

As FTAdviser has previously reported, users of the Aviva for Advisers platform have experienced long waiting times, and an inability to access client reports among other issues that have been ongoing for nearly three months.

Alliance Trust also wrote down the value of the investment platform it owns following customer service issues.

But Neil Cameron, a spokesperson for Aegon, was adamant no such fate would befall the company.

“Unlike a traditional re-platforming, which involves the build of a new platform and the migration of customer data to it, Aegon has pursued a technology upgrade approach," he said.

"Rather than building from scratch Aegon is taking its existing modern platform, which is already operating at scale on tried and tested technology and adding functionality to it.

"This approach will mean advisers will retain features and functionality from the Cofunds platform that they’ve told us they value, on an enhanced version of the Aegon platform.”

He said the company’s recent experience of upgrading its Arc platform will stand it in good stead as it carries out the work this time.

Mr Cameron added: “The communication process with advisers started in earnest a number of months ago.

"In the immediate run up to the upgrade we’ll be communicating as actively as possible as well as directly afterwards, so advisers receive immediate responses to any issues that may develop."

He revealed that in the weeks before the planned upgrade over the May bank holiday weekend, Aegon will carry out a number of "dress rehearsals" to mimic the process of change.

"We’re not underestimating the work that still needs to be done to deliver the upgrade, but believe we have taken the necessary steps to approach the task with confidence.”

He said the upgrade will incorporate functions from both the Confunds and the existing Aegon platform, Arc.

Darius McDermott, managing director at Chelsea Financial Services, which uses the Cofunds platform and will soon become an Aegon client, said: "We're under no illusions that a migration of this size will not have some teething problems.

"That said, they are doing the migration after the end of the tax year, which is sensible, as fewer clients are trying to invest.

"Aegon have committed to a number of enhancements to the platform, which we should get in the next 12 months, as well as pledging to invest multiple millions per annum to continually enhance it over the coming years."