Aegon launches customer guidance service

Maze - thumbnailAegon has launched an information and guidance service aimed at customers who have visited Pension Wise.

Called Aegon Assist, the free service is designed for customers who do not have a financial adviser and who want information about their Aegon products. Aegon Assist will be trialled with a team of three staff. It is open to customers at any life stage, but for those approaching retirement are seen as the key target area. The information service will cover the reviewing of retirement options, considerations around consolidating pension pots, tax implications of accessing pension savings and retirement income, including guarantees. Anyone who wants a personal recommendation will be asked to seek advice.

Research from Aegon indicates that almost half of the population would like to be able to turn to their pension company for guidance about products.

Aegon says the service is needed to fill the advice gap identified by the FCA’s Financial Advice Market Review. It says the service is aimed at customers without an adviser who have simple information needs and who are often reluctant or unable to pay for advice.

Aegon research indicates that just 14 per cent of people are confident about planning their retirement goals and investing themselves and 20 per cent are comfortable deciding how to access their pension independently. While 48 per cent of people would like their pension company to be able to offer information and guidance, just 14 per cent are not in favour, with the remainder unsure, according to Aegon research.

Aegon UK managing director Mark Till says: “Since the introduction of the pension freedoms hundreds of customers have told us they would like us to be able to explain, not just the options open to them, but the considerations they should have in mind when making a decision. Based on the customer’s products with us, Aegon Assist will point out the key issues customers should be thinking about. While the service will provide information, it will be down to customers to decide what action to take and the service will not offer the kind of personal recommendation given by financial advisers. The new retirement landscape is still taking shape and people are being asked to make decisions regarding options that didn’t exist just months ago. At the same time we’re in a situation whereby many people are unwilling to pay for financial advice. While we’ll continue to recommend seeking advice and signposting to Pension Wise, we see Aegon Assist as an important additional option for customers to get the information they need to make the right decision.”