Aegon, the Dutch insurance group, has unveiled a significant expansion strategy for its UK operation that confirms its intent to move into the bulk annuities sector.

The firm, which is best known in the UK for its ownership of the Scottish Equitable brand, is targeting a 10% share at least in the British life and pensions market. The group has also announced that it is actively looking for acquisition targets both in the UK and in continental Europe.

We are excited about the opportunities for growth in the UK market. After the hard work in the past few years we are now emerging as a company which is well placed to transform the business by re-engaging with customers and delivering on an ambitious set of targets, said Otto Thoresen, chief executive of Aegon UK, in comments reported by the Financial Times.

Among its plans is a move into the group pension arena, although the firm denied that it would be looking to compete directly in bulk annuities with the two dominant UK players, Legal & General and Prudential. Instead, Aegon will target smaller bulk annuity funds in the tens of millions of pounds range, rather than the bigger liabilities worth hundreds of millions of pounds.