Advisers are worried Aegon’s decision to close its regional sales offices and put 160 jobs at risk will result in a decreased service, while trade union Aegis has described the decision as “devastating”.
Aegon held a meeting with staff last week in which it set out plans to close its six regional UK sales offices. The offices are based in Glasgow, London, Guildford, Birmingham, Manchester and Bristol.
Aegon says customers will get telephone support from call centres based in Edinburgh and Manchester. In addition, Aegon will increase the number of “platform implementation” roles from 19 to 42 as it focuses resources on its ARC platform offering. In total, 43 new roles will be created in the restructure.
Managing director of UK retail Duncan Jarrett says: “The distribution structure has served us fantastically well in the past, but we must evolve to provide for the adviser community, helping us to strengthen and develop profitable relationships for the future.”
Worldwide Financial Planning IFA Nick McBreen says: “This will inevitably cause difficulties for advisers who relied on regional sales people to get things done.”
Aegis general secretary Brian Linn says: “This is devastating news for our sales community. While we understand the business, economic, technological and regulatory drivers for change, we are focusing on how we can best support our members at this difficult time.
“We will continue to work with the company throughout the consultation period to identify as many redeployment opportunities as possible for the affected staff.”
It is the second major UK restructure Aegon has announced in three years.
The last restructure saw the provider cut more than 1,000 jobs in the UK as part of a restructure designed to reduce operating costs by 25 per cent by the end of 2011.