IntroductionOur strategic objectives

Everything we do ties back to our purpose – to help people achieve a lifetime of financial security. We have been proud to serve our customers for over 170 years.

To continue for the next 170 years and beyond, we follow a clear and steady strategy, even if everything else around us is volatile.

Certainty for a lifetime

Change is a constant – we’ve navigated through numerous recessions, wars and interwar periods, historic inflation highs, unprecedented interest rate lows, shifting political climates and regulatory change – and 2016 was no exception.

Amid disruption and upheaval, customers need and demand transparency, superior service and products and – above all – certainty in an uncertain world.

We provide this by building a long-term relationship with our customers. During their working lives, we help them to protect and accumulate wealth for retirement – whether individually or collectively through workplace retirement solutions. And we’re increasingly offering more flexible approaches to income solutions at and after their lifetime. We offer our customers simple and convenient choices, and provide relevant information, guidance and advice.

Strategy into speed

While our strategy destination has not changed, the way and the speed of implementation has. Pivotal to facilitating faster, more efficient change, is our transformation into an increasingly digital company. We strive to become an organization that delights its customers, adapts quickly to new opportunities, owns both the problem and the solution, and builds on the ideas of others.

Our strategic objectives

Our strategic objectives, put in place in 2010, still guide our actions: Loyal customers, Empowered employees, Operational excellence, and Optimized portfolio.

We recognize that the foundation of any successful business depends on addressing customer needs and communicating with them in the way they prefer, whether online or offline. We prioritize digitally-enabled customer experience in the knowledge that happy customers will prefer us over competitors, stay with us longer, and buy more products.

We provide excellent service to our customers at competitive cost levels. We prioritize modernizing processes and technology by digitization, standardization, automation, and simplification. To deliver a superior service, worthy of high Net Promoter Scores, we aim to be an attractive employer, and to ensure that our employees are empowered and enabled in this digital era, so that they can be our most important ambassadors.

And, to optimize portfolio we invest in businesses and market segments that are core to our business, offer attractive and sustainable prospects for growth, and ensure a strong and stable balance sheet to meet our long-term commitments to our stakeholders.

Acquisitions can accelerate the implementation of our strategy, providing us with access to new technologies and scale in markets in which we are already active. We apply several strategic and financial criteria when deciding to invest. A similar approach is taken when considering the potential divestment of existing activities.

Financial targets 2018

In January 2016, we laid out our financial targets for 2018. Our aim is to achieve a return on equity of 10% by 2018. In addition, we aim to reduce annual operating expenses by €350 million and to return over €2 billion of capital in 2016-2018 to our shareholders. We made significant inroads towards these targets in 2016, while maintaining a strong capital position and a solid Group Solvency II ratio of 157% at the end of the year.