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Aegon earnings stay flat but platform assets soar

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Aegon has revealed rapidly increasing assets under administration in its platform business even as earnings for the full year inch downwards.

In its results published today, the firm showed 2015 earnings of £91m, down from £92m for the previous year.

On a quarterly basis, earnings for the final three months also dipped, falling 17 per cent from £22m in Q4 2014 to £19m this year.

The decrease is driven by falling returns from the provider’s life business, where it has been seeking to de-risk investment portfolios under Solvency II.

Life earnings fell 24 per cent from £77m for 2014 to £58m last year.

However, this was offset by improved returns from Aegon’s pensions business, where full year takings climbed 108 per cent from £16m to £33m.

This was boosted by a £4m benefit generated by a reserve release resulting from market movements.

Meanwhile, Aegon’s increased focus on its platform has seen assets under administration more than double over the year, climbing 134 per cent from £2.7bn to £6.4bn.

The last three months of 2015 alone saw the provider’s platform assets climb by £1.1bn, or 21 per cent, from £5.3bn.

Similarly, customer numbers have surged, rising from 58,252 at the end of 2014 to 243,000 by the close of last year.

Aegon UK chief executive Adrian Grace says: “Earnings proved consistent in the second half of the year and this is the second consecutive quarter in which we’ve delivered earnings of £19m.

“The strong performance has been achieved through higher earnings from pensions and as a result of lower costs combined with increasing customer numbers. These improvements more than offset lower earnings from life which resulted from our conscious decision to de-risk our investment portfolio under Solvency II.

Grace added: “The platform business is benefiting from the new pension freedoms with assets in advised drawdown up 88% year-on-year, as customers and their advisers took advantage of the reforms.

“2015 proved to be a successful year in which we’ve delivered total earnings of £91m and added almost £4bn in assets to the platform.”

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