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8/08/2018

'MOUNTAIN' YET TO CLIMB WITH COFUNDS CLIENTS: AEGON ACKNOWLEDGES


'MOUNTAIN' YET TO CLIMB WITH COFUNDS CLIENTS:  AEGON ACKNOWLEDGES
Aegon has acknowledged there is a "mountain to climb" to regain adviser confidence and work to be done to improve contact-centre waiting times for advisers, following its migration of Cofunds clients to the new Aegon platform.

Advisers and clients alike have reported extended waiting times with Aegon's contact centres while trying to get help to solve a number of issues in the aftermath of the Cofunds re-platforming move, which saw 400,000 savers switched onto the new platform in May.


Aegon said call centre waiting times for clients were back to normal levels but "further action" needed to be taken to improve waiting times for intermediaries.
It also said progress was required on the times it takes the company to respond to email enquiries and transfers, while it has further processes planned, including the quote and apply process for ISAs and GIAs.

Aegon said: "Recovery activity included a number of measures to deal with delays, including redirecting significant extra resource to support the project and help improve service levels. While progress has been made in a number of key areas, which intermediaries have been regularly updated on, there are other areas that continue to require focus."

In terms of progress, Aegon said it had made improvements to payments into the platform and withdrawals, made high-volume client money transfers from GIAs to ISAs an online process, and cleared its backlog of illustrations.


One adviser was so frustrated by Aegon's efforts with the Cofunds re-platforming move that he contacted his MP in July over the "financial detriment" his clients had faced. Another adviser told Professional Adviser they had lost clients as a result of the issues they and their clients were subject to.

In June, Aegon sent a letter of apology to clients and advisers who use the former Cofunds platform.

Aegon digital solutions managing director Mark Till (pictured) said: "We are not underestimating the mountain we have to climb in terms of winning back the confidence of intermediaries. We are fully aware we have created tough operating conditions for them and their clients and we have learnt some hard lessons as part of this process.

"Although the initial movement of client data went well, a number of propositional and operational issues emerged, significantly impacting the level of service we were able to deliver. Our recovery plan is now fully mobilised and helping to bring servicing back in line with what our customers should expect, although we are aware improvements will take time to filter through."

He added: "We deeply regret the situation we have created and we are taking every action we can to return to delivering a service we can be proud of. We will continue to apply additional resource to make sure intermediaries have visibility of the improvements as quickly as possible."


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