Aegon announces completion of Cofunds deal
- Aegon reveals further detail on functionality and approach to technology upgrade
- Aegon reiterates platform focus and commitment to supporting intermediary businesses
- Advisory Board hears plans to combine best of both platforms with a focus on digital service
Aegon is pleased to announce that it has completed the purchase of Cofunds following regulatory approval. The deal was announced in August and supports Aegon’s strategy to be an investment trading platform business set up to serve the needs of intermediaries.
Commenting Adrian Grace, Aegon Chief Executive said: “Today marks the start of a new era for both Aegon and Cofunds. The completion takes us a major step further in our transition from traditional life company to fully-fledged platform business. Our focus now is to help intermediaries grow their business, grow their profitability and manage their risk and costs effectively. What will set us apart from the competition is our commitment not to compete with advisers for distribution, and focus on our investment trading platform and providing the best service and tools.”
With user feedback critical to Aegon, it announced in August that it would set up the Advisory Board to bring together 20 to 30 firms who represent intermediaries of all varieties and sizes to guide Aegon’s development. The Board met for the first time in December and combined users of the Cofunds and Aegon platforms, as well as a number of other platforms.
At the Board Aegon outlined its intermediary focus, platform strategy and what users can expect to see in the coming months. The business explained its intention to combine the best of both the Aegon and Cofunds platforms through a technology upgrade approach. This differs from a traditional replatforming exercise, which typically means the build of a platform and migration of customers to it. Instead the technology upgrade will take an established platform and add functionality and data to it. This means that benefits can be brought to advisers quickly through enhanced functionality without the need for revisiting suitability or work in the intermediaries back office.
The Board heard that a significant emphasis will be placed on enhanced digital service and a reduction in use of paper which Cofunds’ users had highlighted as being a key change they needed. Advisers will benefit from the additional use of straight through processing which can reduce the possibility of manual errors and frees up time for client advice. User log-ins will remain the same to avoid problems being able to access the enhanced functionality.
In addition Cofunds users will benefit from a wider product range including the use of Exchange Traded Funds, Investment Trusts, Shares and an integrated pension. While those who currently use the Aegon platform heard they will benefit from existing Cofunds’ features like pre-funding of trades, debit card acceptance and an improvement to the investment selection process. Access to this additional functionality will begin to roll out in the second half of 2017.
The Board was supportive of the approach taken and offered further insights into what will be important for users of the platforms. Aegon committed to working with the Board throughout 2017 and dates are already in the diary. This approach will ensure Aegon delivers to the needs of its users ensuring that real differentiation exists.
Adrian Grace continued: “By discussing our approach and progress with intermediaries from the outset we aim to deliver a platform that they feel invested in for the benefit of their business and their clients. While we recognise that we have a big task at hand which needs to be handled with care, it represents a fantastic opportunity to work with intermediaries to shape the future of the platform industry.”
Cofunds will continue to be led by David Hobbs and be run from its HQ in Witham, Essex, with operational staff also located in Hove, East Sussex.
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Notes to Editors
- In the UK, Aegon offers retirement, workplace savings and protection solutions to around two million customers and employs approximately 2,100 staff. Aegon UK’s revenue generating investments totalled £59 billion as at 31 December 2015.
- As an international life insurance, pensions and asset management company based in The Hague, Aegon has businesses in over twenty five markets in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Aegon companies employ over 28,000 people and have millions of customers across the globe as at February 2015. Further information: www.aegon.com
- Aegon is the Lead Partner of British Tennis.
Aegon is a brand name of Scottish Equitable plc. Scottish Equitable plc, registered office: Edinburgh Park, Edinburgh EH12 9SE. Registered in Scotland (No. 144517). Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Financial Services Register number 165548. An Aegon company. www.aegon.co.uk
© 2017 Aegon UK plc.