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Thoresen rebuts commission claims on corporate pensions

Thoresen: ‘Just a gentle recovery in market activity’
Thoresen: ‘Just a gentle recovery in market activity’

Aegon UK chief executive Otto Thoresen has refuted allegations of a buy-now-while-stocks-last commission flurry in the corporate pension market, claiming that any fourth quarter increase in sales is simply “a gentle recovery”.

In recent weeks, Friends Provident, Axa and Royal London have all slammed firms, such as Aegon, which continue to pay initial commission, for distorting the market and encouraging commission bias.

Aegon says its group pension sales were up in the fourth quarter, although it refuses to release figures. But Thoresen says that he has seen no evidence of buy-now-while-stocks-last activity.

He says Aegon’s corporate pension sales were down year on year, in line with other providers, due to the recession.

He says: “We look at our pricing on a scheme-by-scheme basis and we are continuing to do that. I have not seen any evidence at all in the market of anything other than perhaps just a gentle recovery in terms of market activity.

“We are very happy with our pricing strategy, we look at each scheme on its merits and price accordingly. The approach we take at the moment is the approach we will continue to take.

“Clearly, as we get closer to the retail distribution review there are changes across the industry that will be required but that is some way off.”

Overall pension business fell 22 per cent over 2009 to £760m from £971m the previous year and in the fourth quarter rose by 16 per cent to £206m from £178m in 2008.

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