Aegon prepares to sell off UK assets

Aegon is preparing to sell off chunks of its UK operations, according to Sky News.

The Dutch company has hired investment bankers at Citi to oversee a number of asset sales that sources said could generate substantial proceeds for the parent company.

It is not yet clear which parts of the UK business Aegon is looking to dispose.

The process is understood to be at an early stage, with Aegon yet to make a decision on whether or not to proceed.

Aegon declined to comment.

Aegon’s UK operation saw year-on-year pre-tax earnings drop 4 per cent in the second quarter this year, from £26m to £25m, as new life sales plummeted 16 per cent.

The insurer’s Q2 2015 results, published in August, show new life business dropped from £226m to £190m, driven by “lower traditional pension production”.

Annuity sales across the sector have been hammered following the introduction of pension freedoms in April.

The firm also warned of “continued pressure” on pension earnings resulting from the automatic enrolment charge cap and the new retirement flexibilities.

It said: “The pension flexibility regulation that came into effect in April 2015, resulted in higher outflows from Aegon’s back-book in the second quarter of 2015.

“Aegon expects this trend to continue in the second half of 2015.”