Aegon 

Aegon admits delays to adding ETFs and trusts to platform

Aegon admits delays to adding ETFs and trusts to platform

Aegon has blamed replatforming issues for the fact investment trusts are still unavailable via the platform.

Back in August 2016, when Aegon acquired the Cofunds platform for £140m in 2016, the financial services giant stated it would expand the product offering on the fund supermarket to include investment trusts and exchange traded funds.

However more than two-and-a-half years later, and with the Cofunds name killed off in 2017, the platform still doesn't offer advisers and their clients access to investment trusts.

When asked what had caused the delay, a spokesman for Aegon pointed to the litany of problems the business faced after it merged its in-house platform with Cofunds over the May Bank Holiday weekend in 2018.

The spokesman said: "Following the migration we've been concentrating on the smooth running of core processes, prioritising the issues that matter most to advisers.

"Investment trusts remain a priority, but at this stage we don't have a date as to when they’ll be available."

Since the replatforming was undertaken at the start of May 2018, Aegon's platform has been beset by a range of problems, including long waiting times on the phone, and a lack of ability to get income.

By October, a spokesman for Aegon said the major issues had been fixed. 

Sales of investment trusts to advisers have grown rapidly in recent years.

Data supplied by Matrix Financial Clarity shows advisers invested £980m in investment trusts in 2018, compared with £196m in 2012.

The rise in sales of investment trusts to advisers has coincided with the introduction of the retail distribution review (RDR) rules which forbid the paying by fund providers of commission to advisers.

Because of their structure, investment trusts were not able to pay trail commission and so were not compatible with many adviser business models.

Jenny Griffiths, an adviser at CP Griffiths and Co, who has been transferring assets away from the former Cofunds platform, said: "We aren't tied to any one platform so we can just use another platform for trusts if we want to."

david.thorpe@ft.com