Strategic Objectives

Our strategy is supported by four strategic objectives.

Loyal Customers

We've set the goal to become closer to our customers – or, as we call it, to become truly customer-centric. We set a target to become the 'most recommended by our customers'.

Aegon's loyal customers logo

We serve our customers' need for financial security throughout their lifetimes by providing digitally enabled, omni-channel, accessible solutions and superior customer experience.

Foremost in our accelerated drive toward this goal is the continuation of our technology-push to get closer to, and better understand, our customers.

We will create and enhance existing products and services to bring clarity and simplicity.

We will provide relevant information and insights, and will respond quickly and efficiently to prove we deserve the trust afforded to us by our customers.

What steps are we taking to improve customer loyalty?

  • Offer solutions across the lifecycle
  • Provide omni-channel distribution
  • Expand guidance and advice capabilities
  • Engage directly and connect digitally with our customers
  • Sustain trusted brands

What steps have we already taken?

  • To enlarge our knowledge of our customers' needs and behavior, we set up a Customer Intelligence Council (CIC), an international collaboration of customer analytics professionals who work in different parts of the business. The CIC is collecting objective data on customer behavior, and part of its responsibilities is to stimulate the distribution of best practices across the group.
  • We've also increased our use of technology to improve our relationship with our customers. In the Netherlands, Aegon has made significant improvements to its popular mobile application, which now allows customers to view their non-life coverage, report claims and find nearby repair centers.
  • In the UK, Aegon's Retiready platform surpassed the 100,000 customers mark – which provides customers with better service, lower fees and tools to measure their personal retirement readiness.
  • And in Spain, Aegon launched a new independent broker service, Aegon Activos. The new service provides customers with access to over 30 carefully selected mutual funds and pension plans, offered by 20 national and international fund managers, life insurance and savings companies.

What performance indicators do we use?

  • NPS performance (benchmarked vs peers).
  • NPS coverage.

How did we perform in 2015?

  • NPS performance: 48% of our customers are in the 2nd and 3rd quartiles.
  • NPS coverage: 98%.



Operational Excellence

We have made significant progress in improving the quality of our products and services, in line with our customers' needs across the various stages of their life cycle.

Aegon operational excellence logoWe aim to deliver excellent service to customers at competitive cost levels and are doing this by increasing scale and using technology to improve the quality, efficiency and accuracy of processes.

Expenses have been reduced and investments made in new digital business models such as Knab in the Netherlands, GoBear in Asia, Retiready – our retirement platform – in the UK, and the single US retirement plan administrative system in Transamerica.

It is our ambition to reduce annual operating expenses by €200 million by 2018, primarily in the US and the Netherlands. Going forward, we will focus on reducing complexity, eliminating duplication, improving accuracy, and increasing automation to achieve cost efficiencies.

We also improved the quality of our financial modelling and addressed several longstanding disputes, while achieving cost savings in established markets, freeing up capital from legacy annuity businesses, and continuing to improve hedging. 

What steps are we taking to improve operational excellence?

  • Digitize processes and increase self-service to create room to invest
  • Implement efficient operating models
  • Increase economies of scale in asset management and administration

What steps have we already taken?

  • At group level, we have been focusing on investing in both the digital capabilities and expertise of our workforce, and the digital innovation of the products and services we offer. An important step for us was the launch of our Center of Excellence for Digital, which will help us to become more agile and more effective, and to achieve a higher level of service and a better customer experience. The Center will promote international collaboration in the digital domain, particularly in Asia and continental Europe.
  • Nationally, we've launched numerous online financial solutions over the last three years. Examples include Kroodle, Onna Onna and Knab in the Netherlands, Active Transamerica in the US, and Simply Life and Secure Retirement Income in the UK.
  • And we're investing in innovation with Transamerica Ventures, our venture fund with a budget of $135 million to invest in start-ups that are developing new technologies for the financial sector.

What performance indicators do we use?

  • Ratio of costs to assets.
  • Ratio of costs to earnings.

How did we perform in 2015?

  • 95% of our businesses offer products and services online.
  • Ratio costs: assets: 0.54%.
  • Ratio costs: earnings: 62.9%.



Empowered Employees

We know that the more motivated our employees are, the better our ability to serve our customers. We treat our employees not only as important stakeholders, but also as important assets for Aegon.

Aegon's empowered employees logoWe recognize that we can only implement our strategy if we value and support our people as our most important asset by engaging and enabling them with the tools, training, and culture needed to exceed our customers’ expectations. Examples include the implementation of a new global HR information system, Workday, which is currently being rolled-out to give managers and employees direct access to relevant HR data.

In 2015, we adapted the Aegon Remuneration Framework to have a stronger focus on relevant targets for employees.

To support the execution of our strategy, we are embarking on a cultural transformation, focusing on four themes: customer-centricity, organizational agility, ownership and acting as ‘One Aegon’. We are developing our talent through initiatives such as the Analytical Academy and revisiting our leadership competencies to accelerate behavioral change. 

What steps are we taking to empower our employees?

  • Focus leadership on advocating innovation, accountability and customer centricity
  • Attract, develop and retain the best people committed to our purpose
  • Increase digital capabilities and expertise
  • Be a truly international enterprise with a diverse workforce

What have we already achieved?

  • We launched the first Global Aegon Awards – an initiative to celebrate achievements and sharing excellence – with participation from 20 country units and 90 applications. The awards categories highlighted our strategic focus as a company: Best community engagement, Best empower initiative, Best improvement, Most customer centric team, Best employee in support and staff, and Best employee in customer service.
  • We stimulated a culture of diversity and inclusion. For example, we support initiatives such as Workplace Pride, a foundation for greater acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in work environments. In the Netherlands, we have our own Aegon Proud, an inclusive employee resource group for LGBT employees and supporters.
  • Transamerica scored 90 out of 100 points in the 2016 Corporate Equality Index rating.
  • We've increased our employee enablement by one point to 75 points, which exceeds the industry norm as well as the high-performing norm by seven and four points respectively. Our engagement score, however, shows a slight decrease to 71 points, which is still three points above the industry norm.

What performance indicators do we use?

  • Employee engagement.
  • Employee enablement.

How did we perform in 2015?

  • Employee engagement: 71.
  • Employee enablement: 75.



Optimized Portfolio

Given current economic conditions, we have made clear strategic decisions about which business lines are key to long-term growth in both our main markets and our
emerging markets.

Optimized portfolio strategy logoBy optimizing our portfolio, we ensure we meet our long-term commitments to stakeholders by delivering sustainable financial results and maintaining a strong and stable balance sheet.

We contributed to this over the past strategy cycle by divesting non-core businesses such as Transamerica’s reinsurance business, La Mondiale in France, Caja Badajoz Vida and Unnim in Spain, and our Canadian life insurance business. In total, we divested €3.4 billion of non-core activities.

At the same time, we entered into a new joint venture with Banco Santander in Portugal and La Banque Postale in France. We also acquired Mercer’s US defined contribution record-keeping business in the US.

We will focus on divesting our remaining non-core operations, and further grow distribution and scale in our core activities, including pension administration and asset management. 

What steps are we taking to optimize our portfolio?

  • Balance risk profile
  • Create and manage a portfolio of relevant, profitable businesses
  • Maximize value of back books

What have we achieved so far?

  • In the US, we announced the acquisition of Mercer's US pension administration business. By acquiring this part of the business, the number of retirement plan participants served by Transamerica increases significantly (from 917,000 to around 5 million).
  • We also announced an expanded partnership between Edward Jones and Transamerica, which will help us to provide retirement plan solutions to companies throughout the US.
  • In the Netherlands, we completed a thorough business review and have decided to restructure our non-life business and to focus exclusively on the retail and the SME segments of the market.
  • To enhance our risk-return profile and improve capital efficiency, we made a third longevity transaction in the Netherlands in July 2015. The hedge covers close to €6 billion of underlying reserves and provides protection for a period of 50 years against longevity improvements.
  • We decided to enlarge our presence in some of our Asian markets. We increased our stake in India from 26% to 49% – the maximum possible for foreign investors. And our joint venture GoBear, which is the first independent comparison site for insurance and financial products in Asia, expanded into Thailand and Malaysia.

What performance indicators do we use?

  • % of earnings from fees.
  • % of sales direct to customer.

How did we perform in 2015?

  • We've doubled our earnings from fee-based business.
  • 15% of our sales are made direct to customers.

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