Origen chief executive Mike Kirsch was forced to clarify that the firm still provides a mixture of independent and restricted advice, after wording in Aegon’s latest results suggested the firm was being turned into a “tied network”.
As part of last week’s Aegon’s Q2 results, the provider said: “Origen was moved into the pensions line of business, as it is being transformed into a tied agent network following the introduction of RDR”.
However, Kirsch says: “We are not becoming tied, nor are we becoming a network. Ourselves and Aegon are on the same page on this, there has just been some confusion over UK regulatory terminology.”
He says Origen will continue to run a whole of market corporate arm, Origen Corporate Solutions, alongside its restricted offering, Origen Workplace Solutions, which launched late last year. The restricted OWS has 20 advisers and is responsible for most new business generation, while whole of market OCS, with 10 advisers, is focused on existing client relationships. OWS advisers use Aegon’s group Sipp, the Aegon ARC platform, Unum’s group protection and Staffcare for employee benefits.
Kirsch says the private client side of the business, containing around 50 advisers, will continue to be whole of market, with advisers working off a panel of three platforms, Aegon’s ARC, Cofunds and Fidelity. A note to advisers says: “We recently added the market leading ARC to our panel of preferred platforms [for individual client business]. Indeed ARC is our preferred platform for new investment business giving customers access to a wide range of funds through a variety of wrappers.”
Aegon’s results revealed an £11m pre-tax loss for the second quarter, caused by £18m costs associated with the sale of Positive Solutions and £27m costs associated with the recent closure of its regional offices.
Rather than separating out distribution profits, Aegon has now moved Origen’s figures into its pensions arm, which saw no profit for the second quarter, compared to a £7m profit for the same period in 2012 and £5m profit for the first quarter of this year.
Syndaxi Chartered Financial PLanners managing director Robert Reid says: “Let’s hope its product and service proposition is less confusing than its corporate message appears to be.”