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Aegon apologises to advisers over Cofunds replatforming

Aegon has issued an apology to advisers in response to problems with the Cofunds replatforming.

The firm is also increasing headcount in its operations team by redeploying 200 employees to help deal with any further issues.

Advisers using the Aegon platform have reported numerous problems with it since it was integrated with the Cofunds business earlier this year.

Aegon digital solutions managing director Mark Till says: “We have written to all advisers who have used the newly upgraded Cofunds platform. Despite client data being migrated successfully, trades being placed and adviser charges paid, we fully acknowledge that the service has been below the standard advisers expect.

“Alongside a sincere apology, we have assured advisers that we are utterly focused on ensuring administration issues are resolved as quickly as possible.

“The delays are not what advisers should expect of us, and the drop in service is completely at odds with our commitment to deliver. I can assure advisers we are fully focused on ensuring these administration issues are resolved to deliver a more robust service in the future.”

Aegon has also written to customers using the new platform apologising for issues and saying any problems they have experienced are not the fault of their adviser.

The letter says: “I would like to offer you a sincere apology if you’ve experienced a technical problem such as not being able to login to our website, are waiting for us to process your paperwork, have spent long periods on the telephone to us, or haven’t yet received a response to an email.”

It adds: “This isn’t the fault of your intermediary, but is our problem and one we’re determined to resolve.”

The letter to customers says that it they were affected by a processing delay then Aegon will make they have not been financially disadvantaged if fund prices have risen.

The firm completed its technology upgrade of Cofunds’ advised customers on the first weekend of May, moving more than 400,000 clients to the new platform.

However, around 400 advised clients were locked out of their accounts after being moved to the new.

There have also been problems with the transfer for advisers, with some reporting issues with logging in to the new system and having to wait a long time to speak with customer service staff.

Aegon created a clone of its Aegon Retirement Choices platform to move the Cofunds clients onto it and will merge the two systems later in the year.

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Comments

There are 5 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. take the high road 18th June 2018 at 1:43 pm

    When a firm chooses to not even answer the phone or reply to emails it really does say a lot about them!!

    Also, the report the new platform produces need to be looked at and improved. For example:

    1. On the page showing the ‘Investment Performance’ table(although it would be better if the pages were numbered), it shows an initial purchase date and I am wondering what precisely this is showing as neither myself or any of my clients seem to have any record of recent transactions

    2. As there is always such a transparent disclosure on fees, I would have thought it necessary to put a column somewhere in the report detailing the AMC of each fund since this is also a relevant charge.

    3. On the last page, I note that there is a summary of transactions table. Whilst I can see that Aegon have shown the on-going Adviser charge it seems to me rather odd that your platform charge is noted as an annual charge, when in fact this charge(like the adviser charge is taken monthly). It should also state that this is Aegon’s platform charge.

    4. Alongside platform and adviser charges, I would have thought it useful to show the aggregate of all fund management/AMC charges as this would be especially useful under MIFID II reporting requirements.

    5. Finally, on Aegon’s client facing documents there is much written and given regarding ‘Adviser Charges’ and fund management charges and several examples are given however, on no place throughout the documents available does it state what Aegon’s platform charge is?

    As you can see, there is much to improve here.

  2. Nicholas Pleasure 18th June 2018 at 2:54 pm

    The service is very very poor, the client reports are dismal and the platform itself is even worse than the one it replaced.

    Woeful.

  3. As a retired adviser I am so pleased that my money is with Transact! They may not be the cheapest but I can see where my money is!
    Platforms are always complicated to run. Why do directors of life insurance companies think they can do this on the cheap?

  4. After all of the initial denials that there was a major problem, this is too little too late.

    I have had to lend a client money, at a cost to me, just to preserve the relationship, six weeks and still waiting for urgent funds.

    First client review after replatforming, the client report was complete rubbish and I said I would have to wait before attempting anything simple like a fund switch or General Account to ISA. Joint holdings have disappeared from the accounts only to show up as Mr and Mrs elsewhere, not even christian names used.

    It remains to be seen whether Aegon can recover from this, but who else is covering themselves in glory these days?

  5. Why all the surprise and angst? This was bound to happen. Doesn’t anyone remember the dog’s breakfast Scot Eq was when it tried to administer SIPPs and SSASs?

    Frank Iredale is quite correct. Life offices don’t have the culture, ethos or ability to run decent platforms or even get involved in the wider investment arena. Just look at the platforms and fund managers who are not involved with a life office.

    I always wonder why firms can’t stick to their knitting. I wouldn’t expect to buy my underpants from Rolls Royce.

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