Platform assets hit £102bn at Edinburgh’s Aegon UK

Adrian Grace

Edinburgh-based pensions, investment and insurance firm Aegon UK said its earnings rose 45% to £31 million in the first quarter as combined assets in its “platform” business reached £102 billion following the the acquisition of Cofunds.

Aegon UK CEO Adrian Grace said the Edinburgh firm was also seeing early benefits of the acquisition of BlackRock’s defined contribution business.

Grace said financial advisers were telling Aegon UK that enquiries about DB (defined benefit) to DC (defined contribution) transfers remained high with demand for advice exceeding supply.

“In our first financial update since the acquisition of Cofunds, we’re pleased to announce that the platform business has passed a major milestone with combined assets of £102 billion,” said Grace.

“We believe scale will be vital in the platform market and a record quarter of new sales on the Aegon platform and the strong performance of Cofunds in Q1 put us in an excellent position …

“In addition to the progress we’ve made with assets on the platform, we’re able to report earnings of £31 million, up 45% on the same period last year.

“This profit figure represents strong new business flows, a focus on customer retention and effective cost management all aided by a buoyant stock market.

“The acquisition of BlackRock’s DC (defined contribution) business completed in the second half of last year … we’re already seeing the benefits of the deal.

“The transaction has enhanced our workplace offer, particularly for larger employers, and we’ve had a number of significant corporate wins in recent months.

There’s a lot of momentum behind our protection proposition which continues to form a core part of our offer to intermediaries.

“Our ambition is to help more families and businesses protect themselves against the unexpected and we have exciting plans to digitize our protection service proposition in the year ahead …

“The record new business flows of £1.2 billion coming on to the Aegon ARC platform is representative of a number of broader trends.

“The uncertain political outlook is being offset by strong market performance and resilient consumer confidence while the pension freedoms continue to drive advice opportunities with the growth of drawdown including with guarantees.

“Anecdotally advisers are telling us that enquiries about DB (defined benefit) to DC (defined contribution) transfers remain high, with demand for advice exceeding supply.

“With advisers naturally cautious, there’s a growing consensus that the FCA could benefit the market by offering regulatory clarity on what it expects from transfer advice, so that advisers can respond to customer requests for advice with confidence.”