Ex-Aegon Direct chief sets up new mass-market advice firm

Former Aegon Direct chief executive James Dean is developing an online and phone-based mass-market advice service.

This week’s Money Marketing reveals the plans for Decide2, which will target clients that IFA firms decide are no longer profitable after the RDR. Advisers will be paid a percentage of any resulting revenue to introduce clients. Dean says the firm is yet to decide how long the payments will continue for.

If Decide2 thinks a client needs full advice, it will refer them back to their original adviser. Dean says Decide2 will take full liability for any advice it gives.

Clients will be charged a percentage of their investment and will have access to a client manager who will direct them to the appropriate level of service, such as execution-only or advice.

Decide2, which will also be available direct to consumers, will initially focus on the at-retirement market when it launches at the end of this year, before widening out to cover products such as basic investments and protection.

Dean led the development of the Aegon Direct service, which launched in October 2009 to provide annuity advice to members of affinity group partners.

Aegon UK announced the closure of Aegon Direct this month, saying its resources could be better spent elsewhere. The venture will close by the end of the year.
Dean also built up Skipton Financial Services’ phone and online advice teams.

Dean says: “Rather than just orphan clients, Decide2 is a way of servicing clients while still gaining value from them.”

Plan Money director Peter Chadborn says: “Firms are going to have to decide what they do with so-called lower-value clients. The short-sighted firms will let those clients go while others will look for somewhere else to service them. This looks like a viable option.”