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Advisers reveal struggles to ditch Aegon platform

Advisers reveal struggles to ditch Aegon platform

Advisers across the UK are in the dark about how long it will take to transfer clients away from the Aegon platform with promises it would take days failing to be met.

Advisers were told by Aegon in June that a transfer of non-cash assets off the platform, which should take two days according to the service level agreement, would take 12 days, while transferring cash, which should take five days, was to take 10 days.

But FTAdviser has learnt actual transfers can take a lot longer as Aegon struggles to take control of the situation.

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Jenny Griffiths, director and Chartered financial planner of CP Griffiths in Stourbridge, has tried to move her clients off the platform and found the average time it took was one month.

Ms Griffiths originally transferred her own portfolio away from Aegon as a dry run before transferring her clients when she concluded the replatforming process was not going to be smooth. The adviser was still receiving daily valuations from Aegon a month after her funds were transferred. 

She then submitted a client transfer request to Aegon on 21 June, which has yet to be completed, leading her to file a complaint to the provider.

She said: "[It has been] about six weeks for the first complaint I made regarding a transfer delay. We have had a number of transfers delayed by Aegon for no valid reason. This is causing further delay as the application has to be resubmitted."

Ms Griffiths said her business was losing about 10 per cent of turnover due to time spent sorting out Aegon related matters. 

A spokesman for Aegon said Ms Griffiths' transfer had been delayed because of gaps in the information submitted, but it admitted transfers overall were taking longer than expected.

Similarly to Ms Griffiths, Scott Gallacher, an adviser at Rowley Turton Private Wealth Management in Leicester, who has so far transferred a "very small number" of clients, said he expects shifting clients to a new platform to take "months" to complete.

Mr Gallacher said he has shied back from transferring clients in bulk for fear of running into further issues and was waiting for the issues affecting the company to be resolved before making his move.

But Sam Caunt, an adviser at Morae Financial Planning in Northampton, who has been transferring clients as their annual review came up, said he has not faced any major disruption. Although he added the transfers had "not exactly been quick". 

Other advisers are hesitant to transfer off the platform for fear of being stuck or crossing regulatory lines.

Ian Lowes, managing director of Lowes Financial Management in Newcastle, said he has stopped placing new money on the Aegon platform but was reluctant to transfer.

The transfer delays follow a myriad of problems affecting advisers since Aegon transferred more than 400,000 users of the Cofunds retail platform and £37bn of assets across to its platform over the May bank holiday weekend.