Incoming Aegon UK chief executive Adrian Grace has taken a swipe at rivals for going behind advisers’ backs when operating direct channels.
Grace is chief operating officer at Aegon and becomes chief executive on April 1. He replaces Otto Thoresen, who has been appointed director general at the Association of British Insurers.
Speaking to Money Marketing, Grace says advisers will continue to remain the focus of the Aegon UK business. He says: “These are tough times for intermediaries. What they need most of all at this time is support from product providers who are going to deal with them exclusively and who are not going to go behind their backs in terms of going direct to consumers. Aegon UK will continue to see advisers as our primary distribution channel.”
Aegon operates a direct annuity service under the brand Aegon UK Direct to readers of the Daily and Sunday Telegraph. The firm says this is a small specialised part of the business.
Grace has been chief operating officer since February 2010. He has led the cost-cutting programme which is aiming to slash operating costs by 25 per cent by the end of the year.
Paladin Financial Services managing director Tim Purdon says: “I have lost business to those providers who want me to support their business but then take the business from me on the direct side. Now I will not deal with providers who go direct while distributing through advisers at the same time.”