CA Summit – Providers question spirit of Aegon employer support deal

Providers have queried whether Aegon’s special support package for employers complied with the spirit of the RDR and whether it would pass muster with the FSA.

The comments came as part of a wide-ranging debate on “The Changing Shape of Distribution”, in which panel members discussed consultancy charging and how advisers can formulate an RDR compliant remuneration strategy.

Aegon’s offer of a rebate of half of three months’ worth of employer contributions if employers implemented an Aegon scheme elicited a mix of envy and disapproval.

Paul Budgen, HSBC Workplace Retirement Services national business development manager joked that part of him wished he had thought of the idea himself, but he added: “I question whether it is legal. It may be within the rules but it is not in the spirit of the RDR.”

David Tildesley, director of employee benefits at Capita expressed unease at the spirit of the scheme, as did Aviva head of corporate distribution, Patrick Granger. Martin Palmer said he did not know enough about the scheme to comment. Aegon director of strategic accounts John Quinlivan stressed that an FSA representative had been at the launch of the proposition and said it was a “balance sheet play” rather than something in the spirit of commission because the AMCs for those schemes taking advantage of it would be the same as those that did not.

Palmer said there was going to be huge coverage of charges in the press next year and that members would start complaining if they were auto enrolled into high charge schemes. “Consultancy charging is going to be very different when taken out of  members’ first year premiums, “ he said.