Aegon confirms £140m deal for Cofunds

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Aegon is to buy L&G-owned platform Cofunds for £140m, becoming the biggest platform provider in the UK.

The deal, announced this morning in Aegon’s results, ends months of speculation and will create a platform with assets under administration of around £85bn.

Cofunds has around 17,000 registered individuals and 800,000 investors, compared to Aegon’s 12,105 and 286,000.

The combined business will have three million customers. Advisers using Cofunds will be upgraded to an enhanced version of Aegon’s platform.

Aegon UK chief executive Adrian Grace says: “From a standing start a few short years ago, we have transformed our business beyond all recognition. Aegon is now well on the journey from a traditional life and pensions provider to the largest workplace and retail platform business.

“We are committed to growing our business alongside the intermediaries that we depend on and will use our enhanced scale to improve user experience, drive proposition enhancement and lower the cost over time.”

Cofunds chief executive David Hobbs says: “Cofunds was a pioneer in the platform market and has built a strong franchise with over 750,000 retail clients plus an enviable institutional business.

“We’re delighted with our new ownership and the combined proposition that we’ll be able to bring to intermediaries.

“The combination of Aegon’s retirement expertise and technology alongside our deep knowledge and experience of platforms positions us uniquely in the market. This is a strong endorsement of our team and our proposition, and is a clear signal that our business is here for the long-term.”

Cofunds uses technology provider IFDS, while Aegon has a contract with GBST.

Aegon has been moving away from a traditional life office and towards the platform market for some time. In May it acquired BlackRock’s defined contribution platform along with 350,000 customers.

AJ Bell had been the front runner for Cofunds but talks fell through in September 2015.