Aegon nurtures tech (just not that of IFDS)

Aegon nurtures tech (just not that of IFDS)

Pension, insurance and investment management firm Aegon has embarked on a large technology project with a number of specialist tech providers – to move the acquired Cofunds business from the International Financial Data Services (IFDS) platform.

IFDS currently supports Cofunds’ institutional, retail, and investor portfolio service (IPS) businesses. The latter is used by Nationwide’s investment customers and the institutional platform.

All three businesses were purchased by Aegon last year for £140 million from Legal & General (which incurred a net loss of about £65 million on the disposal). Cofunds is the main investment platform in the UK for financial advisers.

Aegon then went to market to find a replacement for IFDS.

According to Citywire, Aegon has now confirmed its choice of a New Zealand-based investment tech firm, FNZ, for the institutional business. The institutional platform holds £40 billion of assets. The switchover will take place by the end of this year.

Also, Aegon has created a new role – director of institutional business – and found its first taker. This is Katrina Sartorius, who moves from Euroclear, where she was the global head of FundsPlace, Euroclear’s global infrastructure for all funds trade and post-trade processing.

Meanwhile, Cofunds’ retail platform and the IPS business will be moved to another technology specialist in this industry, Australia-based GBST, which is an existing supplier to Aegon’s own retail business. Cofunds’ and Aegon’s retail platforms will merge by the end of the year, and the integrated platform is expected to available in H1 2018.

Earlier this year, IFDS lost another large client, Old Mutual Wealth (OMW). OMW concluded the costs were too high and opted for the FNZ platform instead.

IFDS is a joint venture between US-based State Street Corporation and DST Systems. In March 2017, DST bought State Street’s stake in IFDS UK and Boston Financial Data Services (BFDS). IFDS UK lost its individual brand and became part of DST. DST and State Street continue to service offshore and cross-border markets in Canada, Ireland and Luxembourg through the 50/50 joint venture – IFDS.