Pensions firm Aegon UK reports sharp fall in profits

Aegon UK headquarters Aegon UK, along with Aegon in the Netherlands, saw a healthy rise in pension product sales

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Life and pensions firm Aegon's UK operations saw earnings fall sharply in the first quarter of the year.

The Edinburgh-based arm of Dutch group Aegon reported underlying pre-tax profits of £20.3m - 20% down on the same period last year.

Aegon blamed the fall on the implementation of the Retail Distribution Review (RDR).

RDR put an end to financial advisers earning commission on products they sell to customers.

In a statement, the company said it expected the effects of RDR to continue at least into the second quarter of 2013.

On a positive note, Aegon reported a healthy increase in pension product sales in the UK and the Netherlands.

Overall, the group reported net profit fell by more than half year-on-year to £172.6m.

It blamed losses on investments meant to reduce the group's exposure to financial market risks.

Aegon chief executive Alex Wynaendts said: "In the UK, our focus on reducing expenses, while also making the necessary investments in new platform capabilities, has positioned Aegon to capture the significant growth opportunities in the new environment.

"Overall, this was a solid quarter for Aegon and it is clear our strategy is delivering the intended benefits for our customers, shareholders, employees and business partners."

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