Aegon-owned Positive Solutions has announced that Aegon Retirement Choices will be the first of three platforms on its panel, with charges waived until 2014.
PosSol chief executive Peter Coleman says it will not be mandatory for advisers to use any of the three platforms but he hopes the commercial benefits which have been negotiated will encourage their take-up.
The platform charge for ARC, which ranges between 0.2 per cent and 0.6 per cent, will be waived until January 2014 for PosSol advisers.
Coleman says the Aegon-owned distributor made a “modest” profit for the last quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of 2012, the first periods of profit in four years.
Aegon does not separate the profit and loss figures for its two distribution arms, PosSol and Origen. The two businesses posted combined losses of £1m for the first quarter of 2012, compared to a £2m loss for the same period the previous year. The two firms posted combined losses of £6m for 2011 and £5m for 2010.
“The first job when I joined (as commerical director in March 2011) was to transform the profit situation and we had to make some really tough decisions,” says Coleman. This included a 25 per cent cut in staff numbers and offloading low producing advisers. Coleman says the production per adviser has increased from £60,000 at the start of 2011 to £72,000 and he is targeting an average of £85,000 by 2013.
Coleman says he expects 85 per cent of the firm’s 1000 or so advisers to be qualified and ready for the new charging structures by January 2013, although he could not produce figures for how many currently have the required qualifications.
The firm is setting up an introducer arm for advisers who want to retain a client relationship without reaching the new RDR requirements. Advisers will pass on regulated advice queries to other PosSol advisers. Coleman says the firm has procedures in place to satisfy the FSA, which has raised concerns about ensuring introducers do not offer regulated advice.