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Aegon’s new platform face will be ready by year end, says CEO

Aegon’s new platform face will be ready by year end, says CEO
Mike Holliday-Williams, chief executive of Aegon UK

Aegon’s UK boss said advisers will soon find out when the new digital front-end to its platforms is set to materialise, but admitted it will not be ready in full until the end of the year.

Mike Holliday-Williams, chief executive of Aegon UK, told FTAdviser the firm has not been “absolutely specific” on the timeline for future changes, but said it was about to do this with some advisers.

He said: “We’re doing the digital front-end in pieces. Some of it is in research now with some advisers who are using it and giving us positive feedback. But it won’t be until the end of the year that we really start to use that in gusto.”

Holliday-Williams said Aegon UK has “got to be very careful” in how it changes things.

“We want to trial it with various advisers and trial it over a long period of time. We’re not hanging ourselves to a time limit and we’ll be delivering it in pieces as we go," he said.

Aegon UK has made a number of recent improvements to its platform, including adding drip-free drawdown, a new self-invested personal pension, discretionary fund management capability, easing the transition of assets and digitising access to certain documents.

“But from a retail perspective, we’ve got so much more to do,” said Holliday-Williams.

“We are building a whole digital front-end which is much more intuitive. Trying to simplify reporting, sign-ons. More integration into the back-offices. So we’ve got a whole roadmap going forward, as well as what we’ve already delivered to date."

He added: “We’re not done. We’ve still got a long way to go yet. We’re investing a lot in the platform again in 2022 and the service we deliver. But we’re seeing those service improvements and proposition improvements starting to come through.”

Holliday-Williams said that in his calls with advisers, alongside positive feedback, there is always “a reason to improve”.

“I always come away with a long list of ‘can we do this, can we do that’. But we are shifting the balance now [...] I think the fact that we’re just focusing on getting our platform to be the best in the market is really helping. People want platforms that are trying to improve and listen," he said.

Advised platforms ‘just net positive’

Aegon UK’s results for the three months ending December 2021, published today (February 9), showed a £272mn decrease in retail outflows over the year.

“Retail had a real positive quarter,” said Holliday-Williams. “And if you look at just the advisers, because there’s a few things in retail, it is actually positive. So just adviser platforms are just net positive, and we want to continue to grow on that now.”

Holliday-Williams was referring to Aegon UK’s two core platforms, Aegon Retirement Choices or ‘ARC’ and ‘Aegon Platform’ - the latter formerly known as the Cofunds platform.