Aegon’s pre-tax earnings fell 18 per cent year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2013, with the insurer blaming a £7m investment in its new self-serve platform.
Underlying earnings before tax in Q4 were £18m, down from £22m in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Earnings from Aegon’s life business increased 53 per cent from £17m to £26m, while its pensions division – which includes distribution arm Origen – suffered a £9m loss as a result of a £7m investment in its new platform and a “one time” loss of £2m.
Aegon says it will launch its self-service platform for non-advised clients in the first half of this year.
The platform will allow clients to self-direct their investments while retaining an adviser relationship.
The new proposition will sit alongside the Aegon Retirement Choices platform and is aimed at allowing clients with smaller amounts of investable assets to invest directly.
Income before tax fell 48 per cent from £42m in the fourth quarter of 2012 to £22m in the same quarter of 2013.
Aegon UK chief executive Adrian Grace says: “We have now reported strong quarterly results for the past eight quarters.
“More importantly we have managed to do this while continuing to invest in the transformation of the business from a traditional product provider to a digital platform business.”
Thameside Financial Planning director Tom Kean says: “The investment in a self-serve proposition does sound interesting with the adviser relationship and I can see why Aegon might do it. But instinctively this does not feel right to me.”