Aviva is to make a £15mn investment to help those that need advice and are challenged by the current cost of living crisis.
Speaking to FTAdviser today (Aug 10) the firm’s UK & Irish Life chief executive, Doug Brown said that cost of living is a focus for the management team and that they are keen to support staff, customers and advisers.
Brown said: “We're very cognisant [of the cost of living crisis], not just for our own staff, but the role we play in the community. We're making roughly a £15mn investment to help those that will need advice and are challenged given the cost of living crisis, and we're always looking at what we can do internally.”
A spokesperson for Aviva said further details on the investment will be announced in due course.
Cost of living payment
The move comes after the company announced last week a one-off payment for staff to help them with the rising cost of living following a campaign by trade union Unite.
The payments will range from £300 to £1,000 for employees earning up to £35,000, with staff to receive the payment in their October wages.
The company is also removing car park charges at offices including those in Birmingham and Sheffield which cost staff up to £500 per year, according to Unite the union.
However Unite’s national officer, Caren Evans said the payment did not go far enough.
“Aviva made £1.63bn in profits in 2021 and has announced a payment of £4.75bn back to shareholders. So Unite has no doubt that Aviva can afford to support its staff through the cost of living crisis.”
“Aviva workers deserve a fair share of the pie,” she added.
The interim results released today by the firm reported a strong first half with operating profits up 14 per cent from the same period last year to £829mn.
However, net flows on its adviser platform were down 9 per cent from the first half of 2021, while assets under management were down 8 per cent.
Aviva attributed this slow down to lower new business flows that reflect the current market volatility, while Brown said despite the challenges the firm remains optimistic.
“Obviously, the assets are down, because the markets are down. So I don't think any of us can predict what's going to happen in the second half of the year but from a fund flow perspective, we had a very strong start to Q1.
“We knew last year that there was pent up demand. There were quite good flows early in the year and things have slowed down in the second quarter. I expect it to maintain those levels.”
“The key is making sure that we remain relevant, and we continue to support advisors in what is a difficult time for them as well as supporting their customers,” the chief executive added.