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New Aegon chief hits out at direct sellers

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.”


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There are 7 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. While the comments from Adrian Grace are to be welcomed Aegon has more pressing concerns in sorting out its new business administration and the existing business administration if it really wants to attract business from IFAs

  2. It is almost 2 years to the day since AEGON launched AEGON Direct, their failed direct-to-consumer annuity pilot.

    Easy to be opposed to things you’ve failed at.

  3. To Paul Smith @ 1:53 – I couldn’t agree more. “Young Mister Grace” does indeed need to rectify “Are You Being Served” if Aegon are to survive.

  4. Tanks and lawns 11th March 2011 at 2:37 pm

    I think he has a fair point. Some advisers have invited some providers to park their tanks on the advisers lawns…and then started the engines for them. It is beyond belief

  5. His predecessor Otto Thoresen – CEO Aegon said: “The RDR is only helping wealthy customers”

    One consequenec of RDR is restricted and tied advice which suits some product providers. It sees that Aegon is taking the side of independence?

  6. Several life offices are not only guilty of stabbing IFAs in the back, they also couldn’t give a damn about their customers, have awful administration and no interest in providing technical support. Yet they still expect to receive IFA business. More remarkably, some IFAs actually give such companies business.

  7. Seems like some still can see the change that is coming ? Advisers post RDR will increasingly be required to advise and no longer have cozy relationships with providers. The longer term will see advisers give advice and the client then deal direct.
    The world in which an investor has to deal thru an intermediary ( often at great expense) is coming to an end

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