NEWS that Aegon UK achieved a five-fold increase in third quarter profits suggests a firm that is an important employer in the Scottish financial services sector is in good health.

Chief executive Adrian Grace is confident the Dutch-owned firm has is following the right strategy to allow it to prosper in the evolving long term savings business.

The company sees especially good growth prospects in the market to provide platform services, which will help consumers make the investment choices needed to take more control of their finances.

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Acquisitions are on the agenda. The outlook for jobs in Scotland, where Aegon employs around 2,000 people, is stable.

That will be welcome news to those who remember the firm shed around 600 jobs in Edinburgh under a restructuring launched in 2010 ahead of big changes in the pensions market.

But job numbers are likely to come under pressure at Aegon as it shifts its focus from selling products like group pension schemes, which create demand for people with skills in areas ranging from maths to administration.

Aegon plans to use technologies such as robotics to help automate a range of routine tasks to help boost efficiency.

Many other financial services firms are doing the same. The fear must be the process could take a heavy toll on jobs in Scotland.

Increased employment in areas like analytical work may help compensate but many people who lose work may not have the skills needed to compete for the new style jobs.