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Aegon is shelving direct sales plan

Aegon has shelved plans to open a multi-million-pound direct-selling arm offering Oeics and Isas until the investment market shows signs of recovery.

The new subsidiary, headed by former Scottish Amicable marketing director Gavin Stewart, was due to open in Stirling in the summer. It was intended to lead Aegon&#39s push into the Isa market but it has been put on the back-burner until the firm believes investment conditions have imp-roved sufficiently to support the business.

The move comes as many fund managers are reporting their worst Isa sales to date, with investors reluctant to plough savings into the stockmarket following sustained falls since 1999.

The Dutch insurer, which owns Scottish Equitable, is believed to have sunk several million pounds into the venture after spending more than a year working on product development, research and branding.

But it says the money has not been wasted as it has every intention of opening the subsidiary at a later date.

Head of public affairs Scott White says: “The project was always subject to market conditions and, with CP121 to contend with, at the moment they still are not right. It will only be postponed until market conditions dictate we can launch.”

Informed Choice managing director Nick Bamford says: “It could be argued that if you are launching a new business, it is now – and not later – that represents the right time.”


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