Aegon and University of Edinburgh announce new partnership exploring science of financial wellbeing

Aegon and University of Edinburgh announce new partnership exploring science of financial wellbeing

Financial services giant Aegon has announced a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with the Edinburgh Futures Institute and the Business School at the University of Edinburgh, to develop a new approach to financial engagement.

The two-year project will see experts from the institutions collaborate to examine how connecting with the future can ultimately help improve people’s relationship with money.

The project will involve Aegon’s centre for behavioural research working with academics from the Business School incorporating the latest insights from anthropology and neuroscience, to understand the topic of financial wellbeing linked to people developing a more concrete picture of their future selves.

Visualising one’s future self allows people to develop a more complete picture of the life they want, not just in a financial sense, but where they want to be, how they want to spend their time and who they want to spend it with. The more concretely and meaningfully they connect to their future self, the more likely they are to adapt their current behaviour.

The project is a continuation of Aegon’s focus on financial wellbeing and follows on from the recent launch of the Aegon Financial Wellbeing Index. The index is a unique study that measures financial wellbeing based on both money and mindset factors. It examines the role mindset plays, particularly people’s vision of their future self, the extent to which they know what gives them joy and purpose and how many have a financial plan. The study suggests that the biggest improvement most people could make to their financial wellbeing relates to mindset.

Aegon is also a founding corporate partner of the Initiative for Financial Wellbeing (IFW) and through that association, it aims build on its existing work to improve financial wellbeing and demonstrate the true value of financial advice.

The firm is one of the sponsors of Pensions Awareness Week 2021, 13 to 17 September, an annual campaign that aims to help the nation get to grips with their retirement savings.

Andy Manson, chief marketing officer at Aegon, said: “We’re delighted to be working with the University of Edinburgh on this KTP, bringing new skills and latest academic thinking to create better financial wellbeing in the UK.

“Aegon has a clear sense of purpose to help the UK achieve a lifetime of financial security and supporting people to feel more in control of their future is a key driver. The aim of the project is to get people thinking about their relationship with money on a whole new level. Having a tool that helps customers picture their future selves will be transformational in helping them engage with their long-term savings.”

Prof Gbenga Ibikunle, director for Industry, Economy and Society at the University of Edinburgh’s Edinburgh Futures Institute, added: “The University of Edinburgh’s Edinburgh Futures Institute (EFI) connects researchers from a range of disciplines to address major industry challenges in a range of sectors, including the Financial Services sector.

“Improving financial wellbeing is one our main focus areas, and we are therefore excited to partner with Aegon to help create the tools and interventions that will ultimately help millions of their customers better plan for their financial futures. Prof Tina Harrison, the main UoE lead on the project, is a leading authority on financial wellbeing, financial education and customer experience and she has collaborated extensively with many organizations in the sector. I have no doubt that this partnership will bring some really innovative solutions to customers.’’

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