Your Industry  

Aegon agony and regulators assemble: the week in news

Aegon agony and regulators assemble: the week in news

When is a wreath not a wreath? And more importantly, when has it been laid and when has it not been laid? Does any of this matter? These are the questions of national importance we have been pondering this week.

But at least the football is back, for those of us who are desperately in need of a distraction. But now it's time for the week in news.

1) Regulators Assemble

Article continues after advert

This week the Financial Conduct Authority teamed up with The Pensions Regulator to launch a joint advertising campaign to raise awareness of pension scams, as it was reported victims lost an average of £91,000 each last year.

The ScamSmart campaign will target pension holders aged 45-65, the group identified by the regulators most at risk of pension scams, and will feature television adverts highlighting the most common tactics adopted by fraudsters.

The FCA and TPR identified cold calling as the most common method used by pension scammers and warned the offer of a 'free pension review' was a common tactic used by fraudsters that many pension holders were unaware of - the regulators reported one in eight 45-65-year-olds surveyed said they would trust an offer of a 'free pension review'.

Later in the week the FCA revealed two introducers alone were involved in the transfer of at least £86m in pension assets by more than 2,000 consumers.

The firms, which traded as Avacade Investment Options and Alexandra Associates before entering liquidation, then promoted self-invested personal pensions and investments in alternative assets such as tree plantations, the FCA said.

2) Advisers on the charge

The cost of complying with burdensome financial rules from Mifid II is forcing smaller IFA firms to revise their charging models, it emerged this week.

Joshua Taylor and Mariam Pourshoushtari, researchers from Platforum, said Mifid II had pushed advisers to reassess their economic models, with appointed representatives "under pressure" from their compliance teams to review charging models.

Some suppliers in the market have acknowledged that Mifid II has increased regulatory expectations, but say this doesn’t necessarily have to substantially increase costs.

3) Aegon agony

If it's any consolation to advisers, Aegon is paying the price for the problems it has been having with its platform.

This week it emerged the company spent £3m more than planned on the wave of problems experienced by advisers as it upgraded its technology.

Advisers across the country have experienced problems with a wide range of functions on the platform, from receiving income to viewing client statements.

Aegon said it expected to incur more costs in the next accounting period but it added that when the integration of the Cofunds business is complete, it will make cost savings of £60m a year.  

Despite its technology problems, Aegon reported net inflows of £2.6bn in the first half of the year and its platform assets rose to an all time high of £120bn.

Later in the week Aegon UK's chief executive, Adrian Grace, said his firm has "very deep pockets" and will ensure no adviser is left out of pocket because of its recent replatforming.