Aegon is planning to introduce new features to Cofunds platforms and its own platform.
Aegon today confirmed the completion of its purchase of Cofunds and said a technology upgrade would “combine the best of worlds” from the Aegon and Cofunds platforms including offering more products through Cofunds.
Speaking to Money Marketing, Aegon chief distribution and marketing director Mark Till says there are also plans to introduce new features to both platforms and to review the Aegon Retirement Choices platform on a quarterly basis.
The first priority is addressing changes advisers have called for to date, however.
Till says: “We have ideas broadly but, for now, we are concentrating on making sure the platform we have got for Aegon and the platform we have got for Cofunds is enhanced in ways that both of those adviser communities have asked for.”
An advisory board of 20 to 30 intermediaries set up to input into Aegon’s development had its first meeting in December.
Advisers speaking to Money Marketing had previously raised concerns about pricing changes after the acquisition and Till says these formed part of the feedback received in the first meeting.
He says: “Explicitly, pricing was not raised but it was one of the things we gained some feedback on. Did we have a discussion about pricing – no. Was it on the feedback list that we gathered – pricing was on there.”
Till reaffirmed Aegon’s promise to not increase prices for Aegon Retirement Choices clients or Cofunds users.
He says: “Aegon has committed that customers will pay no more than they pay at the moment. We haven’t made any other decisions about how pricing will evolve but we have certainly made a commitment that we will not be increasing the price the customer pays at the moment.”
Asked what the timeframe for the technology upgrade for the Aegon and Cofunds platforms would be, Till says he believes a platform is “never complete”.
He says: “One of the things Aegon is keen to do is see the platform develop every quarter. We will publish a road map showing what we plan to do in the next 12 months and we will keep that updated on a rolling 12-month basis. The first pieces of the technology upgrade will take place in 2017, that will bring the majority of the benefits advisers have been seeking for both platforms.”
The advisory board is scheduled to meet once a quarter with the next meeting to be held in February.
Client suitability reviews
In an email to advisers this morning seen by Money Marketing, Aegon says that the platform upgrades will be done in a way that “doesn’t disrupt your business or trigger client suitability reviews”, and that Aegon’s job was partly to help advisers with “lowering the risk” in their businesses.
An Aegon spokesperson says advisers will not have to revisit suitability as a result of the technology changes because there will be no changes to the products advisers have selected for their clients.
A section of Aegon’s email to advisers this morning signed off by chief distribution and marketing director Mark Till