Aegon rumours highlight lack of certainty in group pensions market

Aegon is set to exit the UK life and pensions market, according to reports in the press.

The insurer has described the reports as ‘pure speculation’ and says that its future strategy will be set out in full at an analyst and investor conference tomorrow morning at 8am.

The press reports have led to rumours that Resolution could make a  bid for the provider’s UK business, just weeks after launching a £2.5bn bid for Axa’s UK corporate business.

Aegon exited the group risk market in 2009, saying it believed it could use its capital more effectively elsewhere.

Advisers say the pace of consolidation in the market is making it increasingly difficult to recommend group pension providers on the basis that they are likely to remain in the UK for the long term.

Andy Cheseldine, consultant at Hewitt says: “The pace of consolidation makes life difficult for advisers to say this is a provider you can bet your hat on. We have now seen lots of names that you would have thought are in the market for the long term turning out not to be. We have seen it with Clerical, Invesco, Prudential and now possibly Axa and Aegon.

“The obvious bet is that they will be bought by Resolution, which would be positive news as they have a good bunch of managers in Friends Provident to run the enlarged business.