Origen chief: We’re not becoming a ‘tied network’

Kirsch: We offer a range of propositions to the market

Origen managing director Mike Kirsch has moved to clear up confusion caused by the terminology used in yesterday’s Aegon results by clarifying that the advice arm is not going to become a tied network.

As part of Aegon’s Q2 results, the provider said: “Origen was moved into the pensions line of business, as it is being transformed into a tied agent network following the introduction of RDR.” It said the advice arm would become tied in all relevant product areas, when asked to clarify the statement.

However, Kirsch says there has been some confusion over UK industry terminology.

On the corporate side, Origen will continue to run whole of market arm Origen Corporate Solutions, alongside its restricted offering, Origen Workplace Solutions, which launched late last year

The restricted OWS has 20 advisers and is responsible for most new business generation, while whole of market OCS, with 10 advisers, is focused on existing client relationships. OWS advisers use Aegon’s group Sipp, the Aegon ARC platform, Unum’s group protection and Staffcare for employee benefits.

Kirsch says the private client side of the business, containing around 50 advisers, will continue to be whole of market, with advisers working off a panel of three platforms, Aegon’s ARC, Cofunds and Fidelity.

A note to advisers says: “We recently added the market leading ARC to our panel of preferred platforms [for individual client business]. Indeed ARC is our preferred platform for new investment business giving customers access to a wide range of funds through a variety of wrappers.

“To support our whole of market propositions we compile a number of panels to ensure the best products/services are offered to our clients. These panels will include some Aegon products where they are market leading, including the ARC platform mentioned above.”

Retirement arm Origen Retirement Solutions will continue to offer restricted and whole of market advice.

Kirsch says Origen will retain its status as a national fully employed advice firm.

Kirsch says: “We are not becoming tied, nor are we becoming a network. Ourselves and Aegon are on the same page on this, there has just been some confusion over UK regulatory terminology. We offer a range of propositions to the market. Some of these, such as OWS and Aegon Annuity Services, are restricted to specific providers, others are currently whole of market. 

”As with many distributors in a post-RDR world, we will continue to review our business model in light of market developments and our changing customer needs.”

Aegon’s results revealed an £11m pre-tax loss for the second quarter, caused by £18m costs associated with the sale of Positive Solutions and £27m costs associated with the recent closure of its regional offices.

Rather than separating out distribution profits, Aegon has now moved Origen’s figures into its pensions arm, which saw no profit for the second quarter, compared to a £7m profit for the same period in 2012 and £5m profit for the first quarter of this year.