AEGON UK chief executive Adrian Grace has said the Brexit vote is unlikely to make its Dutch owner cut investment in the business noting it has just paid its first dividend in 20 years.

Underlining Aegon UK’s appetite for more big acquisitions, Mr Grace said the management team in the Netherlands likes what the company is doing in the UK where it achieved strong growth in third quarter profits.

With around 2,000 employees in Edinburgh Aegon UK made €25 million profit from its savings and investment businesses in the third quarter, up 400 per cent from €5m in the same period last year.

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Group profits increased by 20 per cent to €556m from €461m

“We paid a dividend to the group this year of £150m and we can see our way to future dividends,” said Mr Grace. “When you’ve got an investment and it starts to pay back dividends at that sort of level I think you start to get happy with your investment and you watch them continue to deliver.”

The fall in the pound since the Brexit vote means dividends will be worth less in euro terms than before the currency depreciated.

However, the change has also made it cheaper for overseas firms to invest in the UK.

Noting the integration of the Cofunds platform business Aegon UK bought for £140m last year is on track to complete in June under budget, Mr Grace said: At that point we do start to look out and say what else is available in the market.”

He added: “Once you’ve proved you can deliver on an acquisition that was the biggest in the market and successfully integrate it then I think every other fish in the sea becomes something that we will look at.”

Aegon UK is very focused on the £560 billion market to operate platforms, which are web-based services that allow advisers to buy and manage investments on clients’ behalf.

“Traditional life companies are clearly shrinking in terms of their traditional business models whereas the platform investment trading models are growing at 20 per cent a year. We are going to put all our efforts into growing our investment trading platforms,” said Mr Grace.

Aegon raised growth funding through the sale of its £10bn annuities book. The group said the completion of the sale process in September was a milestone in its transformation.

The UK business has a £40bn book of what Mr Grace described as traditional bundled life and pensions assets. This is increasing as new members join existing workplace schemes but Aegon UK has stopped selling traditional bundled products.

Aegon is assessing the potential to use technologies such as robotics to make the administration of the related schemes more efficient. Mr Grace reckons other financial services will be making similar moves.

“We will continue to do robotics here in the UK and automate a lot of those more simple and mundane tasks that we do,” Mr Grace observed.

The group said it has adopted a robotic process to handle customer requests to change addresses or

bank account details for some products.

Mr Grace discounted suggestions technology driven change will result in a big fall in employee numbers in Scotland. Aegon UK is investing in growing services such as investment solutions, which could result in jobs being created.

It is consulting staff about a move to close a centre in Hove where 180 people work but has no plans for changes that would result in a significant change in job numbers in Scotland.

The company shed around 600 jobs in Edinburgh under a restructuring plan launched in 2010 by Mr Grace’s predecessor Otto Thoresen.

Separately, the group said third quarter earnings in its UK asset management business fell to €3m from €6m. It cited adverse currency movements and a drop in management fees, partly caused by a contract loss earlier this year.