National advice firm Chase de Vere, which became one of the Aegon platform's biggest clients after the provider bought Cofunds, has told its advisers not to use the platform for new business.
Aegon has been suffering technical and service issues since migrating clients from the Cofunds platform earlier this year. Aegon bought Cofunds in 2016.
In an email seen by New Model Adviser®, Chase de Vere’s chief executive Stephen Kavanagh told the firm’s advisers not to recommend Aegon as a platform for new clients until the situation had stabilised.
The message, which includes details of the Aegon client remediation programme, said the back log for re-registration/transfers is 35 days, which the platform is trying to ‘burn down’. It should be noted the message was sent at the end of August so this situation may have changed.
Kavanagh said in the message to Chase de Vere advisers: ‘While I am confident our current challenges are top of Aegon’s priority list, I am disappointed to see no material improvement to our situation despite my continued pressure.’
He went on to say that, although advisers should not transfer clients away from Aegon, the platform should not be used for new clients.
‘We continue to be of the opinion that for existing Aegon clients we would not advise that they transfer out, given that would expose them to a needless and complex process at a point where Aegon continues to have operational issues in this regard.
'Once there is stability and we have a clear understanding of how the Aegon platform will operate, we will carry out a full review to determine its appropriateness for Chase de Vere clients.
‘In the meantime, we feel that for new clients the current Aegon platform should not be recommended.’
An Aegon spokeswoman said: ‘We recognise that service levels have fallen short of what customers should expect. However, we have been working closely with our key customers and the Advisory Board, and have deployed a fully mobilised recovery plan.
'We are aware that there is still work to be done and deeply regret the situation we’ve created. We are making good progress and taking every action we can to return to delivering a service we can be proud of.’
When contacted, a spokesman for Chase de Vere said the two firms have been working closely for a number of years. But in light of the ‘operational issues they are currently facing’ the firm has ‘recommended that our advisers use other providers when advising new clients’.
‘We are speaking with Aegon regularly and are hopeful that their problems will be resolved in the near future,’ the spokesman added. ‘We will then carry out a full review to determine whether their platform remains a suitable product for our clients.
‘As an independent financial adviser we aren’t tied to any providers and are able to use what we consider to be the best products for our clients. This is what we will continue to do.’