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.
  • In the Netherlands, the number of customers registered for a 'My Aegon' account exceeded 900,000. 'My Aegon' provides customers with a personal overview of their financial position via internet or mobile app 24/7.
  • Aegon Life developed AUCUA PULSE, a word-cloud tool that helps prioritize and improve customer loyalty in India. As a result of action taken, the company's Net Promoter Score improved by almost 39 points.
  • Transamerica launched the HigherEd Retirement Consortium in the United States. This multiple employer retirement plan is designed to help private colleges and universities merge their employee retirement plans

What performance indicators do we use?

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

How did we perform in 2016? (2015 performance)

  • NPS performance: 35% of our customers are in the 1st and 2nd quartiles.
  • NPS coverage: 97% (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 was our ambition to reduce annual operating expenses by €200 million by 2018, primarily in the US and the Netherlands. In 2017, we increased this target to €350 million. 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.
  • Together with four other insurance companies, Aegon launched the Blockchain insurance industry initiative B3i. This project will explore the potential for distributed ledger technologies to increase efficiency.
  • In the US, Transamerica announced three new variable annuity investment options that invest in Blackrock's iShares smart investment funds. These funds help reduce risk, generate income and enhance returns by taking advantage of systematic biases or inefficiencies in the market.
  • Aegon's joint venture GoBear is Asia's only impartial meta-search engine for insurance and financial products. Just one year after launch, Go-Bear recorded double digit month- on-month growth rates, attracting increasing numbers of users that are looking for an un-biased comparison of different financial products and services. In 2016, more than 7.7 million users visited our website while close to one million users used our site to click through to the site of a provider or broker.
  • The Americas region is aiming for cost savings of $300 million by 2018. In addition, our operations in the Netherlands intend to realize cost savings of €50 million, and the holding €10 million by 2018.

What performance indicators do we use?

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

How did we perform in 2016? (2015 performance)

  • Reduction in operating expenses of €110 million.
  • Ratio costs: assets: 0.47% (0.54%).
  • Ratio costs: earnings: 64.2% (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.
  • Every year, our Global Employee Survey measures the level of engagement and enablement of our workforce, and units are required to follow up on the outcomes of the survey results. Organization-wide, key topics that were taken up as a consequence of the survey results were learning and development, performance management, and respect and recognition within the workforce. For example, at our headquarters in The Hague, one of the topics that was chosen to improve on was a 'Great Place to Work'. Unfortunately, our employee engagement score decreased 8 points to 63, and our employee enablement score dropped 11 points to 64. We believe these declines were largely the result of uncertainty due to necessary cost reductions and restructuring.
  • In the list of best employers in the Netherlands, Aegon rose from 25th position in 2015 to 15th in 2016. The ranking is based on a survey of randomly selected employees.
  • Aegon won the Workplace Pride 2016 National Coming Out Day awards. Workplace Pride strives for greater acceptance of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people in the workplace and society.
  • Aegon held its first ever Hackathon, a 24-hour event for selected, digitally-minded employees, aimed at developing implementable ideas for products and services.

What performance indicators do we use?

  • Employee engagement.
  • Employee enablement.

How did we perform in 2016? (2015 performance)

  • Employee engagement: 63 (71).
  • Employee enablement: 64 (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.
  • Aegon bought Cofunds and BlackRock's UK defined contribution business. It also sold its UK annuity portfolio to Legal & General and Rothesay Life.
  • Aegon the Netherlands sold its commercial line non-life business, including its proxy and co-insurance run-off portfolios, to Allianz Benelux.
  • Banco Santander and Aegon agreed to extend the scope of their bancassurance partnership in Spain and Portugal.
  • Aegon was the first company to receive approval from the Dutch Central Bank (DNB) to launch a General Pension Fund in the Netherlands. 'Stap' has already won three mandates totaling €2 billion in assets.
  • Aegon Life, Aegon's joint venture in India, restructured its activities to focus on the digital direct-to-consumer market, where it has a leading position.

What performance indicators do we use?

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

How did we perform in 2016? (2015 performance)

  • Percentage of earnings from fees: 42% (43%)
  • Percentage of sales made direct to consumer: 16% (15%)

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