Aegon’s adviser platform has managed to shake off the problems it had faced after replatforming, as 100 advice firms joined in the past year and existing firms returned to post service levels.
Ronnie Taylor, chief distribution officer at Aegon, told FTAdviser that a number of firms left the platform as a result of the migration disruption but the more common response of advisers was to reduce the extent to which they used the Aegon platform over other providers.
Now, he said, many of these firms are choosing to work more closely with Aegon again and in addition it has added about “100 new, significant firms over the last year or so”.
Aegon currently has about 1,000 firms that are actively managed out of about 6,000 advice firms which have assets on the platform.
Aegon acquired the Cofunds platform in August 2016 but its later attempt to replatform the client base to its own platform's technology resulted in a wide range of issues, with clients unable to access basic functions on the site for months.
By June 2018 efforts to solve the issues had cost the company an additional £3m.
But this is apparently behind the provider as gross flows on the Aegon platform were up 48 per cent in Q1 2021, compared with the same time the year before.
Taylor said: “There’s no doubt we’ve further to go and will be investing heavily to ensure we’re offering intuitive platform technology, service excellence, compelling investment solutions and business support to advisers.”
When asked about Aegon’s advice business Origen, Taylor said the provider was not looking to play into the advice market like some of its counterparts, but reiterated Origen was an independently run business with its own management team.
He said the firm was focused on helping others service their clients when they may not have the correct permissions or right level of professional indemnity cover.
Taylor said: “Origen is a great business with strong credentials in financial planning but also in the specialist DB advice area, where they’re often used by corporates looking to offer independent advice to scheme members about their DB benefits. With so much speciality in this market, they’ve extended their offer to other advice firms.
“Changes to regulation and increasing professional indemnity insurance costs have meant the number of advisers with permissions to carry out DB pensions advice has halved over the last two years. This means demand for DB transfer advice will outstrip supply, resulting in an advice gap in the market.”
Origen's referral process allows a client to receive advice, limited to their DB pension, before being passed back to the original adviser who retains the ongoing financial planning needs of their client.
Taylor added: “This service enables those firms to ensure their clients can receive whole of market regulated advice. Origen offers abridged advice as an entry into full advice, with the advice covering both the potential DB transfer advice and investment solution.