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Aegon sets up direct annuity firm

Aegon has set up a new company to sell annuities directly to consumers.

Under the plans, Aegon would tie up with another provider for enhanced annuities and is understood to be in talks with a number of firms.

Aegon currently offers standard annuities and third-way products via IFAs only. Third-way products will not be offered direct.

Aegon UK Direct was established in March with chief financial officer Mark Laidlaw as director. It will offer annuities directly to customers at six affinity partners, beginning with The Telegraph Group.

These clients are currently offered advice through Origen but Aegon says the direct option will serve those who do not want advice and will not be extended to the wider public.

The new company will employ just 11 staff. Aegon would not confirm a launch date.

A spokeswoman says: “This service would link in to services already provided to affinity partners by Origen. Where it is clear full advice is needed, the customer would be referred to Origen.”

The Retirement Planner head of retirement planning Nick Flynn says: “Providers going direct are probably going to confuse consumers. It is very difficult to make clear to them whether it is a whole of market or multi-tied proposition to clients.”


Ripple effect

Last week’s publication of the retail distribution review was not directly relevant to mortgages. However, there will likely be some sort of read across to the sector in due course. Implementation of the RDR is not scheduled until 2012 and it has been years in the making. It is therefore highly improbable that any similar changes to mortgage regulation will take place for at least three years, especially seeing as the implications of the forthcoming European Commission mortgage directive will need to be considered.

No restriction on vigilance

The FSA will be extra-vigilant when policing the new independent and restricted advice categories after RDR, warns director of retail policy and conduct risk Dan Waters.


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