Aegon UK’s pre-tax profits were up 17% in the first half of the year standing at £71m thanks in part to the success of its platform business.
It said the increase was a result consolidating its platforms to common technology and a lower cost base, according to its latest results out this morning (13 August).
Digital ‘solutions' earnings increased to £25m from £14m driven by higher fee income as a result of continued growth in platform assets, and improved protection earnings.
Lower expenses also contributed to the earnings increase as savings from the integration of Cofunds more than offset expenses for business continuity related to the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, the results said.
Earnings of the existing business declined by 1% to £46m, due to the gradual run-off of the unit-linked portfolio, offset in part by "favourable mortality experience" on the retained annuity book.
It added assets had recovered following the initial Covid-19 stock market sell-off and ended the period at £174bn, including £143bn of platform assets. It reported net deposits of £1.8bn into the business during the quarter.
Aegon UK chief executive Mike Holliday-Williams said the business had exhibited resilient performance in challenging markets.
"We have a resilient business that has performed well in challenging markets and our earnings grew 17% on the previous year to £71m. The growth in earnings reflects an 11% reduction in our cost base as we realise the benefits of having consolidated our platforms on a common set of technology.
"The gradual recovery in stock markets following the coronavirus sell-off has meant that total assets in the business have largely rebounded and now stand at £174bn - close to the level where they started the year.
"We currently manage £143bn of customer money via our platforms which were the big drivers of sales and account for a growing proportion of our earnings."
Gross deposits more than doubled during the period to £6.4bn, while net deposit totalled £1.8bn.
Holliday-Williams added the firm had responded strongly to the pandemic both operationally and in terms of ongoing proposition development.
"The coronavirus has been the dominant feature of 2020 but I'm pleased by the way we've responded both in terms of the shift to remote working and how we've been able to support our colleagues, advisers and nearly four million customers.
"Our employees have risen to the challenge with initiatives to digitise processes that would have previously required advisers to send in a paper form, by establishing webchat, remote contact centres and through our communication efforts to help customers make sense of recent events."
He added that despite the challenges of the coronavirus "we've continued to invest in the business and delivered a number of significant updates over the last six months".
This included proposition enhancements to the Aegon Platform and ARC as well as the launch of Member Insights, a tool which helps employers to analyse savings trends within their pension scheme.
"In addition, we recently launched our first multi asset OEIC range aimed at advisers and their clients which builds on our long expertise in this area where we already manage around £20bn of customers' money. We'll continue to invest in the second half of the year, with a number of additional proposition enhancements planned," the chief executive said.
Holliday-Williams said the H1 performance figures gave him confidence Aegon UK was focused on the right markets.
"There are strong tailwinds behind advisers who are benefiting from client demand for retirement advice in particular and in the workplace market, where the government has shown its full commitment to auto-enrolment during furlough and where the value of contributions will continue to grow over time."
Plan for growth
Operating profits at £117m in first half
Manhattan Harbor Capital to be renamed Kingswood US
'We will take decisive action and we will withdraw capital'
Corporate Chartered status
Seneca Global Income & Growth Trust first to be included
Equivalent of £980,000 a day
'It is human nature'