Aegon UK today unveiled Adrian Grace as its new chief operating officer (COO), life and pensions, as the company seeks to create a "more competitive" business in light of challenges presented by RDR, pensions reform and Solvency II.
The announcement comes as the company reports life and pensions new business fell 23% to £943m last year compared with 2008, although Q4 new business was up 9% on the previous three months on an APE basis.
Underlying earnings for the quarter were £30m, an increase of 131% on Q4 2008, while the Value of New Business (VNB) measure advanced 10% on Q3 to £32m.
Earnings for full year 2009 were £43m, down 62% from £113m in 2008.
Grace, currently Aegon UK's director of sales, distribution and development, will be responsible for all aspects of the company's life and pensions business, reporting to CEO Otto Thoresen.
Prior to joining Aegon in 2009, Grace was managing director of commercial business at HBOS.
"Our market is changing," Thoresen says. "Pensions reform, the RDR and Solvency II will create a different landscape.
"Adrian Grace's appointment will mean an absolute focus on strategy delivery in our life and pensions business."
Elsewhere, chief risk officer Mark Laidlaw has been promoted to a new role within Aegon N.V., where he will lead the company's global response to the Solvency II insurance risk regulations. Aegon UK says it will look to replace Laidlaw in the near future.
Following the changes, Aegon UK director of life and pensions operations Feilim Mackle and marketing director Steve Clode will leave the company.
Clode was largely responsible for Aegon UK last year securing a multi-million-pound, five-year sponsorship deal with British Tennis.
Aegon Asset Management generated gross sales of £270m in Q4, up 55% on the same quarter in 2008, while new business was £1,076m for the year, up from £542m.
Aegon UK total assets under administration reached a record level of £56bn as at 31 December 2009.
"Although 2009 was a challenging year for the life assurance sector, Aegon UK achieved a solid performance," chief executive Thoresen says.
"We saw encouraging growth in the fourth quarter, with increased pension volumes one of the main drivers. Aegon UK must continue to push forward and build on the success of recent years."
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