Aegon has completed its purchase of Cofunds as chief executive Adrian Grace heralded a “new era” for both brands.
Aegon announced the acquisition in August after Fund Strategy’s sister title Money Marketing first revealed Aegon had made a verbal agreement to acquire Cofunds in February.
An advisory board of 20 to 30 intermediaries set up to input into Aegon’s development had its first meeting in December.
At the meeting, Aegon said it was going upgrade the platform technology rather than replatform to “combine the best of both worlds” from Aegon and Cofunds.
According to Aegon, this will mean changes can be made quickly without revisiting suitability or work in the advisers’ back office.
Grace says: “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.”
He says: “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.”
Cofunds users will also be able to access more products, including the use of exchange traded funds, investment trusts, shares and an integrated pension.
Aegon platform users will get access to Cofunds’ features such as pre-funding of trades, debit card acceptance and a better investment selection process. These changes will be rolled out in the second half of 2017.
Grace adds: “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 will be run from its headquarters in Witham, Essex, with operational staff also located in Hove, East Sussex.