View more on these topics

Aegon cuts 100 jobs and shuts 6 regional sales centres

Aegon is to cut over 100 jobs and close half of its 12 regional sales centres in a restructure of the business.

The provider says it is to cut 142 roles and create 36 new positions leading to a net reduction of 106 jobs. It says the restructure is due to the changing work practices of advisers and the new requirements of the IFA market in the run-up to the RDR.

The move is the first stage in the provider’s business restructure which will see it reduce operating costs by 25 per cent by 2011. A further strategy update will be given by the end of September.

The provider is shutting six of its 12 regional sales centres. The new regional sales centres will be Scotland (based in Glasgow), Northern (based in Manchester), Midlands (based in Birmingham), London (based in Kingsway), South West and Wales (based in Bristol) and South Central (based in Guildford).

The Edinburgh, Leeds, East Midlands, South East, Watford and East Anglia sales centres will all close.

New business processing, previously managed from within the regional centres, will be centralised to its Edinburgh customer service centre.

Aegon says its existing corporate solutions sales team will be developed further to support its focus on workplace savings. Most of the newly created roles will be in the corporate sales and telephone support service.

Aegon UK sales director Duncan Jarrett says: “The financial advisory market is changing rapidly, as advisers prepare their business models for the changes brought about by the retail distribution review, and make greater use of technology in running their business. Our new sales structure reflects Aegon’s commitment to the adviser market.

“We know that advisers will continue to require high quality service and support, but they want it in a way that suits the way they work, saves them time and enables them to provide a more efficient service to clients. We have piloted elements of our new approach and we know it will enable us to provide a better quality of service to all our advisers, and ensure we maintain and develop our adviser relationships.”

Aegis General Secretary Brian Linn says: “This is a very worrying time for the UK finance industry in general as companies look to reposition, restructure, and reduce operating costs. We acknowledge the economic and regulatory drivers for this change. However, the news that six out of twelve regional sales centres are to close has come as a major shock to our members.

“We remain committed to supporting our members at this difficult time. We will continue to work with the company throughout the consultation period to identify as many opportunities as possible for those directly impacted.”

Newsletter

News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up

Comments

There are 41 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Terrible company anyway, poor admin, and are a provider who has historically tried to buy business with a distinct arragant approach

  2. This is a great company, unlike your spelling!

  3. If half of their offices are being closed to improve their service to IFA’s then imagine how good it will be if they close the lot!!

  4. At least the 100 staff might be able to get a better job than you, given that they will be able to spell the word which describes you perfectly………

  5. Another one ‘BITES THE DUST’- All part of the continuing demise of the financial services industry Look at the Manufacturing sector for clues as to where we’re all going!!

  6. It is an interesting sentiment to believe a company is adapting to the interests of its consumers by reducing the ability of the adviser community to interact with them locally.

  7. Hardly earth shattering news for the industry. Good company, good service and its all for the long term good.

  8. It’s never great when people are made redundant, so comments about service standards are particularly unhelpful.

    From my experience, when AEGON were at fault with something, it was very rarely down to the local branch staff but usually someone unhelpful and hiding behind a phone at their head office 200 miles away. So it is a shame.

  9. I will have a pint of whatever Jenkins is drinking, as Aegons service has always & without exception (in my humble opinion) been crap & the only way they have prospered is by employing good people to clear up the crap. Good people then leave etc or get made redundant, unfortunately.

  10. Instead of slating how ‘awful’ AEGON are put yourself in the staffs shoes.

    This is unfortunate but is obviously happening for the right reasons.

    Your low and childish comments dont really improve the matter do they?

    A great company, always willing to go that extra mile. I should know, I do it every day!

  11. With a special thank you to the FSA 8th September 2010 at 2:48 pm

    Again with a special thank you to the FSA their RDR and all their expanding staff and bonuses without whom the contraction of our once proud industry would not be possible.

  12. It’s never great when people are made redundant, so comments about service standards are particularly unhelpful.

    Seconded… (perhaps hardly earth shatterring… however it is very sad to see this sort of infrastructure go as it will be a long long time before it is replaced, if ever…)

  13. To Mr Jenkins
    Having worked for them, I am best placed to make comment, they have always tried to buy business, trainees were always trained to talk this up, which has contributed to why they are having issues from a profitability perspective repaying Aegon / Dutch Government. Sorry, I dont think you have any grounds to assume they are a quality outfit. May be your an employee

  14. Regardless of who the company is, in this case Aegon, it is yet another indication of the contraction of companies in the IFA marketplace. Such decisions are not taken lightly and are based on levels of business expected, both pre and post RDR. Let’s face the facts, the IFA market will be decimated in the period running up to December 2013 and immediatly beyond. In the meantime you could direct yourself to the recent guide, published by A.I.F.A., “Platforms and Your Business- the decision making process” The work involved on this will take your mind off RDR.

  15. Having been in the industry for a number of years and worked on both sides of the equation this unfortunately seems to be cyclical with all life offices (showing a lack of creativity at the top) expand and contract, expand and contract and so on.

    My sympathies go to the staff who will lose their jobs as a result of bad decisions at the top.

  16. Welcome to the FSA’s brave new world that is RDR.
    Soon there will be nothing to distribute.
    No jobs equals no money. No money equals no paying for advice or anything else but the bare essentials..
    Never mind, moneywise will advise on your rights to benefit.

  17. It’ll be interesting to see how HO cope with new business processing. Mr Jarrett was in the past a champion of this work being branch based.

  18. Lots of decent hard working honest people have lost their jobs. For my part I would just like to thank them all for their hard work and to extend my sympathy. The branches have always tried to help out the IFA community with local support and if this is progress in the name of RDR heaven help us!

  19. I work for AEGON and in the New Business Dept and yes it will be interesting how we are going to cope as we are already under alot of pressure, but for all those people who think it is ok to slate the company please think of the staff at the branches who are losing there jobs through no fault of there own and how much pressure the new business teams are now goingt to be under , and to Mr Jenkins if you actually knew what went on behind the scenes you would know that the branches dont always smell of roses and sometimes getting info out of them is like getting blood from a stone, so next time you want to slate the head office know what you are talking about first please!

  20. There’s historically a ‘them and us’ attitude in AEGON between HO and branches. Sales has tended to resist any movement of work from branches to HO (‘HO don’t understand customers’). Hopefully initiatives like the centralisation of quote printing and ‘access’ has helped change this attitude.

  21. Come on you guys let’s focus blame where it belongs – the business prevention department at Canary Towers! This is not the first and it won’t be the last group to pack up. Even the Prudential wanted to get out of the UK! Financial Services are global the FSA is parochial. Conducting business and making a profit in UK plc is becoming harder as regulation chokes the life blood out of this industry. The FSA is the manifestation of everything that is wrong with a quango. They over regulate what is good and fail to regulate what is bad. They are not prescriptive they are retrospective. They fine you after the event but fail to warn you before the event. RDR is a dog’s dinner of prejudice without foundation surrounded by lap dogs salivating at the fallout to be gained by the decline of their competitors. But mark my words this regulation is a cancer and it won’t stop until its victim is dead and yes my fine Chartered advisers even you!

  22. Aegon staff you are not alone. The industry is contracting in anticipation of RDR. 100 jobs at Aegon now with 10,000 IFA’s to follow, many getting out even as we speak. Note at the same time the FSA grows!

  23. Really feel for those who will be made redundant. Big thank you to the FSA who are overpaid, lacking ideas, and are destroying the market with changing regulations / RDR (albeit RDR does have some benefits). Good luck to all those who may have to find new employment, good people are always required and appreciated. However I must agree with those who have said Aegon have tried to historically buy business, never been impressed with their sales consultants, and agree they are arrogant. With a 58% loss of profits over the last few years, see Bloomberg reports it was a matter of time before something happened. Shame its the true people who really work hard in their head office who will be mainly affected. Consultants need to learn to become consultative sellers rather than product bashers. Good luck

  24. Hi,

    Is this 4chan or money marketing?

  25. Maybe you should all stop talking cr*p, and think of the people who are affected by the job cuts. I am one of those affected people, and as I am sure you will appreciate, I am pretty upset by my redundancy, which was announced today.

  26. It is a shame that some comments are so negative n heartless. We are just employees (admin)of the company and we don’t make the big decisions when we always thrive to help as much as we can but at most times our hands are tied due to FSA rules. One should really understand what it Insurance first before commenting. What I dont get is customers always complaint when payment is due – dont they realised buying a cover is for PEACE of mind not for burden and would they NOT pay for their groceries when they walk out of a supermarket? Think of all the people who will loose their job – this is their livelihood that some of you are slating – they are humans just like everybody else

  27. I would say that the one thing that always stood AEGON out from the rest of the life offices was the company’s ability to find solutions when problems occured.

    Lets be realistic, we would all love a world where everything works 100% smoothly, but unfortunately this world doesnt exist. Thus a life offices ability to deal with problems when they occur is crucial.

    With AEGON the ability to deal with these problems was largely based around the strong relationship between the local branch staff and HO staff, which in my experience compared very favorable to other life offices. It will be interesting to see how this will change going forward…

  28. RDR was always going to present a problem to a company who had purchased their market share at a huge loss for years

  29. As one of those people at risk , I think it is very important to understand that every single person at the branch or in Head office wants to ensure that IFAs get all the information they need to do the job. The technology has not always been there to give you that information but we do try our best. Creating in-fighting within a company going through a massive change is not exactly the best way forward. There are more changes to come, and if we do what needs to be done and get the best possible people doing the job then we should be a better company to work with. We are changing to meet the IFA needs going forward into the RDR. If you don’t understand that then maybe you don’t fully understand what the RDR entails. I suggest that all people in the IFA community give us a chance to prove just how good we are. The area I work in has a phenomenal market share and we have a great relationship with our IFAs. We cannot possible be that bad if thats the case! Surely?

  30. Having worked at a branch years ago and dealt with them over recent years I know that Leeds in particular have a set of extremely hard working, loyal staff who always tried their very best for the IFAs they looked after. Many of the staff had a brilliant relationship and were long service staff. It was usually Head Office who were the “stumbling block” and is such a shame that we are losing the personal touch of the local branch.

  31. JC – get real, the branch staff would tell you whatever you wanted to hear in order to get / keep your business, as their credit production / bonus relied on it – and if that included the catch all of ‘would love to help, but those sods in HO wont do it, etc etc’.
    Happened in every local office of a life company, and has done in all of my decades experience – sometimes, it is systems, sometimes regulation, but very rarely would someone clock in at any life company HO of a morning with the express desire to annoy customers.
    The truth – as many have pointed out – is that there will be lots of jobs lost due to lack of profitable business in the run up to rdr etc – and that will include hundreds of those ‘intransigent head office staff’ in Aegons edinburgh office next year – however I presume your sympathy for them will have evaporated ?

  32. Unfortunately the brunt of the many hundreds of job losses will taken by the (relatively) low paid HO admin staff. The company continues to recruit for highly paid Risk, Compliance and Change roles.

  33. Typical comments from those that have taken a lot out of the industry without a care about those that go the extra mile to make them their over remuneration.
    From a ‘rep’ that’s left in a job (at the moment) i’m truly sorry to hear this awful news. Don’t lose faith in your own ability and remember that those that are so scathing in their comments now will be laughing the other side of their faces soon when RDR comes into force and makes them unemployed as well.

  34. It is sad to see the industry slowly imploding before our eyes it reminds me of the motorcycle and then UK car industry or steel industry or chocolate / confectionery industry or ……. industry fill in the what you will there are plenty more.
    The UK is fast plummeting to the bottom of the premier league and soon may well be relegated to the championship how long a seat on the security council? Soon to no longer have a Navy or Air force but an amalgamated mish mash.
    No doubt resolution is still sniffing about?

  35. Having recently been through the redundency experience with Skandia when they closed their regional offices I know what it must be like for those in the offices marked for closure. The next few months whilst the ‘consultations’ take place will be hard and no doubt they have all been told in the meatime it is ‘business as usual’. Best of luck to you all.

  36. This isn’t worth sweating about. In the twentieth century, 95% of blue collar jobs were lost in Western Europe and the U.S. In the twenty first century, 95% of white collar jobs will go the same way. As the internet automates more transactions, all customer service jobs will go the way of the rivet catcher. In terms of jobs lost, the Edinburgh financial services experience will be similar to what Glasgow and Lanarkshire went through 30 years ago.As one walks up Sauchiehall Street, past the imposing frontages of former boilermaker offices and the like, one can muse on what AEGON and Standard’s offices will become – hotels? All primary and secondary industry has already moved East, save very high end manufacturing. We’re now a service economy and the lower value parts of that will be replaced by technology solutions very quickly now, the rest following in good time. The future of the UK lies in very high value professional services, software solutions, entertainment and tourism and selling these across the world. Life Offices will fall into each other like collapsing stars: AXAFriendsProvidentAEGONAviva Life, anyone? The more life office capital is put together the more costs will be reduced and the more profit for shareholders (a large proportion being pension funds). The IFA industry will lose 95% of its people. Only very high end IFAs and web/’phone based high volume solutions will exist in ten years. So, all we have to do is accept the change, accept its pace and start scratching our heads as to how we’ll make money in this brave new world.

  37. Just the start for Aegon UK. Business model based on bribing IFAs, musical chair senior management and back office systems that require just about everything to be reworked on spreadsheets.

  38. This is easy to say from a man that has already made his money and couldnt care less about others.

  39. Very few large companies have regional sales offices now and work very well with advisers on this basis. IFA’s need to adapt to the changing climate and stop complaining. Instead of slagging the company, show a little respect for the peiople who have lost their jobs. A great example of how arrogant most advisers are, full of their own self importance.

  40. I am shocked at the lack of respect or concern shown here. not only will some very good, caring people be losing their jobs and livings but the people in HO will bear the brunt of the increased work-load for no additional reward!
    It is NO comfort knwoing that this is happening in all industries. It is NO comfort to know that others will follow in their wake!
    IFA’s have been bemoaning the service provided by local offices for many a years (I know from experience on both sides of the fence!).
    This is a sad development for such a long-standing organisation and it will put some very good quality staff off from applying for positions – the future is just too uncertain.
    Lets give the guys a break and THANK THEM for the hard & dedicated work over the years & with them all the very best for the future.

Leave a comment