NETHERLANDS – Aegon is to cut up to 450 jobs in a consolidation of its business units that will see it focus on pensions, asset management, life and general insurance.

“Aegon the Netherlands is to get a new organization structure so that it can respond more quickly and flexibly to the needs and wishes of its customers,” the company said in a statement.

It said that current staffing of around 3,000 would be cut by 10-15% over the next three years via “natural wastage”. There would be no compulsory redundancies.

It said that it would create “greater cohesion” between its various business units. Previously independent business units served specific groups of customers independently of one another. The new structure should be in place in early 2004.

“In the current market, it is no longer enough just to offer good products and services if you want to have a long-term relationship with customers, who are increasingly thinking about the long-term and are taking control,” said Johan van der Werf, chief executive of Aegon in the Netherlands.

“The lifestyle of these customers is constantly changing and with it their financial options and needs. Choices made today for pensions or insurance policies may no longer suit the situation of tomorrow.”

The existing business units would be replaced by five service
centres covering pensions, individual life, general insurance, banking and asset management. The company says the centres “will be able to work more efficiently as a result of further implementation of IT solutions and by standardizing products and product components”.

Earlier this year Aegon said the ageing population bodes well for its earnings for a long time to come. In its 2002 annual report it said that it expected that the growth in pensions, savings and life insurance would exceed nominal GDP growth for many years to come.