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New country, new challenge

The Hague, November 26, 2015

After 12 years as Aegon’s Chief Risk Officer, Tom Grondin will be taking on a new challenge as Chief Financial Officer for Asia. Before he leaves for Hong-Kong, we asked him to reflect on his time with Aegon.

Tom Grondin, Aegon Chief Risk Officer

What have the highlights been?

The experience of attracting and developing talent is something I enjoyed very much. Given that I was the first hire in the Risk department at group level and that Risk as a function did not exist in most business units, we were able to embark on some pioneering work.

With the help of colleagues in the business, we have also been able to give quite a few people the opportunity to work abroad, taking on personal challenges in addition to the professional ones.

Last but not least I'd mention the Technical Development Program that we started. We now have about 20 participants, all of them very strong in their field, in a six-year dedicated development program. I am very pleased with this outcome and look forward to seeing it grow and become further embedded.

What are the biggest changes you've implemented?

The development of a comprehensive Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) framework was one of our early accomplishments. The ERM framework begins with risk strategy (identifying the risks we want and the risks we are good at managing), determining risk limits, and developing guidelines for operating, along with other key building blocks.

We recently launched our model validation program. This is one of the most ambitious in the industry.

We recently launched our model validation program. This is one of the most ambitious in the industry. Closely linked to this was the Solvency II internal model which is on track for getting approval, saving Aegon a lot of capital.

But the proudest accomplishment has to be the Economic Framework. When I first arrived, there was no internal system for measuring value and pricing risk. This resulted in a non-level playing field internally when competing for Aegon's capital.

It also meant that we had insufficient insight into what could be classed good business and how to compare opportunities. Once in place in 2005, this led to smarter balance sheet decisions in the group and later formed the bedrock for how we price products.

What has being a member of Aegon's Management Board (MB) brought you?

This gave me the opportunity to directly contribute to strategy, human resources and other topics. The decision we made will pave the way for Aegon's transformation to deliver on strategic objectives regarding employees, customers, operations and balance sheet management.

What will your new position involve as Chief Financial Officer for the Asian region?

As CFO, I will be responsible for overseeing finance, product development, investments, Asset Liability, Capital, Actuarial and Risk Management for the region. Combining the knowledge that I have accumulated over the years with local knowledge, will help take the business forward with a strong financial discipline, innovation, product development and balance sheet management.

Our Economic Framework led to smarter balance sheet decisions in the group and later formed the bedrock for how we price products

I will also help continue the good relationships with our Joint-Venture partners. Professionally, I am most looking forward to being closer to the business again. I am also looking forward to a steeper learning curve again. Naturally, the longer you are in a role the learning curve starts to flatten after a period.