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Aegon launches debut fund range for advisers

Aegon launches debut fund range for advisers

Pensions giant Aegon has launched its first fund range for financial advisers, offering a selection of multi-asset portfolios to investors on the Aegon platforms.

Aegon announced today (July 23) it has added its own range of risk-managed, volatility-controlled portfolios to the selection of investments available to advisers and their clients on the Aegon Retirement Choices and Aegon platforms.

The range is available to pension, Isa or GIA investors and each fund has a different risk and return profile to reflect investor needs, with an ongoing charge figure of 0.25 per cent.

Managed by Richard Whitehall, head of portfolio management at Aegon, the funds are made up of low-cost passive components predominantly provided by BlackRock while the team will work with Morningstar to determine asset allocation for each fund.

Tim Orton, managing director of investment solutions at Aegon, told FTAdviser the range would provide advisers with an “all-in-one” fund solution which met a client’s risk preferences and suitability measures.

He said: “The portfolios enable a simple mapping from the advice process. The funds help to meet regulatory requirements, they’re volatility controlled, assist with ongoing suitability and are available across all wrappers on the platform.

“With our strong distribution network in terms of adviser relationships, we wanted to provide fund capability in that space.”

Mr Orton said it was a “natural extension” of what it already offered.

He said Aegon had seen ongoing demand from advisers for a “packaged solution” of this nature, adding that Aegon’s response was “very attractive” as it was “competitively priced”.

He added: “From a timing point of view, given what has happened with the current crisis it is a stark reminder of the risks of operating your own portfolios.

“Advisers who are exposed to the market conditions we have seen while running their own portfolios will be scrutinised on how the funds have behaved.”

Paul Gibson, director at Granite Financial Planning, said the range looked to be “priced attractively”.

But he added: “The market leader to beat in this space is Vanguard’s LifeStrategy range and I don’t see advisers abandoning them to use Aegon, whose past performance has been mixed.”

Shelley McCarthy, managing director at Informed Choice, said: “This seems a simple and cost effective investment option.

“With lots of commentary recently regarding how financial advisers are not investment experts, I suspect they will be popular and welcome.”

Mr Orton said he was confident the traditional risk measures put in place to manage funds were still relevant and would protect investors, particularly when funds were volatility managed.

He said: “We need to stay alert to changing conditions and make sure that we review what volatility in the market is going to be.

“But with a volatility managed solution, this allows you to readjust the portfolios and change across asset classes so you can be confident you are optimising the volatility of the portfolio while maximising returns.”