NETHERLANDS - At least 7% of the 1,100 independent pension advisers of insurer Aegon will stop their activities after the introduction of a licence, a survey by Aegon suggests.

The required skills and the mandatory minimum number of consultations will force many intermediaries to terminate their pension portfolio, the insurer said.

However, the survey has also made clear that 46% said they would continue, emphasised Frits Bart, pension director of Aegon Intermediary, who has conducted a series of 'road shows' in order to consult the advisers.

Bart added that 15% of the intermediaries had not reached a decision yet, and that 32% of them had not responded to Aegon's questionnaire.

The outcome is above general market expectations, with forecasts that approximately 75% of independent pension advisers would stop,  Alexander Kuipers, spokesman for Aegon noted.

He suggested that an explanation for the difference is "that Aegon has many intermediaries with larger offices and specialist pension advisers".
"The consequence is that many intermediaries who are covering pension advice as a secondary activity, can't meet the requirements, and will stop as a consequence," he said.

Bart continued: "In our opinion, this is a good development for both employers and employees in the small and average-sized businesses, as a pension is a complex product with a long-term financial impact."

He expected intermediaries to specialise in a segment of the pension and insurance market.

The communication supervisor Authority Financial Markets (AFM) has announced rigorous education requirements as well as a mandatory licence for intermediaries as of 1 January 2014.

The measures followed an AFM survey last year, which showed that 75% of the pension advice to small and average-sized businesses is sub-standard.

The watchdog concluded that pension advice should be an intermediaries' main profession, rather than a sideline activity.