Dutch life insurance giant Aegon has truly gone global. The company is using its expertise in acquisition (its $9.7 billion purchase of US rival
Aegon operates through four divisions: Americas (including Latin American partnerships), Asia (including China, India, and Japan partnerships, as well as offerings for high-net-worth businesses in Singapore and Hong Kong), Aegon Asset Management, and Europe (including partnerships in Spain and Portugal). In the Americas, the group does business as Transamerica.
Asset management operations include equity and fixed-income and cover Aegon's insurance subsidiaries as well as third-party clients and insurance-linked products. These services are offered to retail, wholesale, and institutional clients. Brands include Aegon Asset Management, Kames Capital, TKP Investments, La Banque Postale, and Aegon Industrial Fund.
Aegon's primary operations are in the Netherlands, the US, and the UK. The US (where Aegon operates as Transamerica) is its largest market, representing some two-thirds of total earnings.
In the key strategic regions of Central and Eastern Europe, Aegon operates in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Turkey. (It plans to sell its Czech and Slovakian operations to NN Group, though.) The group also has joint ventures in nations including Brazil, Japan, Spain, and Portugal. Asia is another key region, where Aegon sees potential for long-term growth.
Sales and Marketing
Aegon primarily sells its products and services through brokers, agents, financial advisors, and banks. It also does some direct selling.
Aegon's total income, which has risen for the past couple of years, increased to about €58 billion in 2017. This was primarily due to gains from financial transactions; fees and commissions also rose, but those increases were partially offset by a 3% decline in premium income.
With the higher total income, net income jumped to €2.4 billion that year.
Aegon has gone through a number of significant restructurings recently to simplify its operations, cut costs, and modernize its offerings. The company has a strong history of entering new international markets or expanding in existing markets through acquisitions. It is focused on growth in its smaller markets in Latin America, Asia, and in Central and Eastern Europe.
Aegon sees further potential to expand abroad by adopting the latest technologies. For example, it can connect better with customers through increased touchpoints, thereby increasing customer loyalty. It can also use automation and artificial intelligence to help lower prices. However, as the company embarks on its own digital transformation, other companies are also leveraging technologies for growth, which translates to more competition.
Aegon's strategic priorities also include divesting or closing business that don't contribute to its long-term goals. It has divested units worth more than €3 billion since 2010, including its stake in France's La Mondiale Participations, the UK's Guardian Assurance, as well as its US reinsurance activities. It has placed its institutional markets division in run-off, and in 2018 it sold Aegon Ireland for €195 million. Aegon also plans to sell its Czech and Slovakian businesses to NN Group for €80 million. Divestitures made in 2017 included its US payout annuity and Netherlands advisory businesses.
Other goals include investing in more fee-based businesses to offset the negative impact of low interest rates. Since 2010, it has tripled the percentage of its earnings brought in by fee-based operations. And after acquiring the UK-based Cofunds, Aegon now plans to launch a multi-manager investment company. This move aligns with its recent efforts to change from a life and pensions specialist to a broader investment platform operations.
The group is also focused on cutting operational costs. In 2017 it outsourced the administration of some 10 million US-based policies and it closed offices in California and Ohio.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In early 2017, Aegon acquired Cofunds, building its UK investment operations. It also bought BlackRock's worksite pensions business.
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