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Aegon fights to keep advisers’ trust as Cofunds replatforming issues continue

Choosing the key to successAegon says it is not underestimating the “mountain” it has to climb to win back advisers’ trust as some issues following the Cofunds replatforming remain unresolved.

Aegon moved more than 400,000 Cofunds’ advisers clients to the new Aegon platform over the first weekend of May.

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

There were also 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 wrote to advisers in June apologising for the problems they experienced after the replatforming.

In an update today, the company says there are still problems that have not been resolved.

It says call centre waiting times for advisers need to be improved and waiting times for responses to emails and transfers need more progress.

Aegon also says more “online processes” are planned, including the quote and apply process for ISAs and GIAs.

However, the provider says that in the past five weeks there have been improvements to payments in and withdrawals.

It also says that high-volume client money transfers from GIAs to ISAs can be done online and the backlog of illustrations has been cleared.

Aegon digital solutions managing director Mark Till says: “We’re not underestimating the mountain we have to climb in terms of winning back the confidence of intermediaries. We’re fully aware that we’ve created tough operating conditions for them and their clients and we’ve learnt some hard lessons as part of this process.”

Till says: “Our recovery plan is now fully mobilised and helping to bring servicing back in line with what our customers should expect, although we’re aware that improvements will take time to filter through.”

He adds: “We deeply regret the situation we’ve created and we’re taking every action we can to return to delivering a service we can be proud of. We will continue to apply additional resource to make sure that intermediaries have visibility of the improvements as quickly as possible.”

Aegon increased headcount in its operations team by redeploying 200 employees to help deal with any further issues.

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Comments

There are 6 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. The stock image of all the keys hanging down reminds me of a scene from one of the Saw films. Which is very appropriate given how painful it is to deal with Aegon.

  2. I think it is important to put this into context and to understand the key issues before blaming Aegon for everything.

    Yes, they have made mistakes and I am sure they have learnt some valuable lessons throughout this process, but the fact still stands that without Aegon, Cofunds clients would be in a complete mess by now.

    Aegon acquired a business that needed huge investment (because it had operated for ages without it) and a great deal support in dealing with the high number of clients on the platform. The business was in a terrible position and the only way to secure its long term future was to re-platform it.

    Aegon didn’t re-platform the business by choice. They did it due to necessity. Without their swift and decisive action, advisers and clients would be in a terrible state by now.

    Yes, Aegon could have probably run the project better, but the fact is they stepped in to prevent a business falling over and to that end we all owe them a great deal of credit. They have supported the sector when others would have probably walked away or shut up shop. Despite all the problems, I am grateful to them for acting on a problem and putting advisers and clients first.

  3. How can you keep something that you never had in the first place?

  4. In all seriousness, did anyone expect anything different? Aegon and their predecessors – Scot Eq – never did have a reputation for even moderately good admin and service.

  5. ‘some issues’ it’s been an absolute car crash. Worse decision in the history of financial services. If any assets are left on the platform in 18 months time I will be amazed especially if this continues.

  6. It is truly shocking that the switch went ahead when the AEGON platform was clearly in no fit state to receive and deal with nearly half a million extra clients, many with multiple accounts.
    So, was it incompetent IT people telling Management that everything was fine? Or was it incompetent and dictatorial Management over-riding IT people who knew they needed more time?
    I know which theory I’d back

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