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Aegon on Cofunds deal: Suitability safe, prices will fall

Aegon on Cofunds deal: Suitability safe, prices will fall

Aegon has sought to reassure advisers that they will not have to review the platform suitability, even when Arc and Cofunds are eventually merged together.

Yesterday (3 January), the Dutch insurer announced it had completed the takeover of platform giant Cofunds and outlined some of its plans for the next few months.

Rather than immediately migrating customers over to a single platform, Aegon has decided to upgrade some of the technology and add extra functions to both.

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While the two platforms will run parallel to each other in the first instance, Aegon’s chief distribution officer Mark Till told FTAdviser the two platforms will eventually merge into one.

“Operationally the two platforms will ease together into one solution,” he said, pointing out that the platforms have around 30 pieces of software running together.

“Ultimately we will be trying to run one version of that collective group of systems.”

Mr Till also said that no way along the line should the changes trigger the need for advisers to carry out suitability reviews to check whether the platforms are still appropriate for clients.

The distribution boss also said Aegon had no plans to change the pricing structures of either platform, but that over time the fees could drop.

“Aegon is not hidden from the fact that over time the pricing in this market for platforms will fall.

“Therefore we think you have to become a substantial business by scale to be able to live with a falling price over time; you have got to be able to invest back in the platform.

He added: “Aegon is committing quite a lot of money into this space now in order to be a scale player and live with the price reductions that will come over time.”   

According to Mr Till, Aegon’s goal over the course of 2017 is to get all the core functions used by both platforms together in a single place and available to users of both Arc and Cofunds.

“We intent to enhance the functionality every quarter after 2017 and keep a rolling 12-month roadmap so advisers can see how it’s developing.”