Aegon chief unmoved by replatforming concerns

Aegon says platform project is on track with costs and timings


Aegon chief executive Adrian Grace says the provider is on track to deliver the new Aegon/Cofunds platform on time and on budget.

The technology companies powering adviser platforms were thrust into the spotlight last week when Old Mutual Wealth terminated its contract with IFDS to work with FNZ on its replatforming project.

Old Mutual Wealth chief executive Paul Feeney said the timescales and costs of the project under IFDS, which had hit £330m as at the end of April, had become “unacceptable”.

Aegon announced in March that the core of the new Aegon/Cofunds platform is based on the Aegon Retirement Choices platform, which uses GBST technology.

As GBST’s biggest customer, Aegon is getting “very good service” from the company, Grace says.

Asked if he was concerned about the amount of work platform technology companies are handling and whether this could cause disruption to advisers and clients, Grace emphasised the Aegon/Cofunds project is on track.

Grace says: “I can’t talk about other providers and their challenges. All I can tell you is that we put a business case forward with what we were doing on the integration with Cofunds in terms of timings and costs and I can only tell you that we are very much on track both in terms of timings and the cost that we have said we would do this with.

“We do not foresee any issues at this moment in time and we are on a good glide path to deliver what we said we would deliver.”

In the March announcement, Aegon said it would start moving Cofunds users to the new platform by the end of the year and the projected cost of the project remained at £80m.

Aegon announced in its first quarter results today that its platform business amassed combined assets of £102bn, following the acquisition of Cofunds in January. Cofunds accounts for £86.6bn of total assets.

In the results statement, Grace also urged the FCA to clarify its expectations about DB transfer advice as consumer demand for this continues to increase.

Speaking to Fund Strategy sister publication Money Marketing, Grace says DB transfer rules are currently opaque.

He says: “You talk to some advisers and they talk about a misselling scandal. The clearer regulators can be in terms of what is and what isn’t allowed and what types of advice need to be gone through, the better it is for customers and the safer it is for advisers.

“We need to be very prescriptive on the rules and what is allowed, particularly around valuations. For me, what we don’t want is another financial services issue around something like this and I am encouraging the FCA to proactively get out there with the right rules.”