Client feedback

Kathy, may l take this opportunity to thank you for your assistance. There were many times l thought l was losing my mind during my efforts with Aviva. You were a pillar of support for me and you saw my case through to the very end. I cannot thank you enough but thank you again. It is through people like you who strive for professional fairness as well as thoroughness, HCA has such a good reputation.
Ethel Chimutwe,
HCA International Ltd Staff Retirement Benefits Scheme
The Trustee training was very interactive and the presenters were engaging - thank you.
Nick Marsh,
Comet Pension Scheme
​Ian has added more value than we thought he would at the start… which shows it pays to go with someone who is doing the job of a professional trustee as their bread and butter.
Katherine Cross,
They have helped us save much more and created a cohesive plan to de-risk whilst building an integrated pension team.
Sally-Anne Borrill,
Many organisations and people provide the services that clients need. In my opinion, the differentiator is in the way those services are provided and to that extent, Kathy embodies the qualities that I have come to value from PSITL. Kathy is organised but not fussy; diligent but not dogmatic; persistent without being pushy and compliant in a pragmatic way. Whilst she takes ownership and drives issues forward, Kathy is a team player who uses her and her colleagues experience to provide services to her trustee client whilst working closely with those like me representing the sponsoring employer. She works collaboratively with advisers but constructively challenges the scope of services, fees and service standards whenever necessary and makes sure that member needs are always taken into account. I enjoy working with her and trust that she will deliver what is required by the trustee and the members they represent in a manner satisfactory to the sponsoring employer.
Stuart Barker,
Internal Pensions Consultant, RSPCA
Ann and her team are very knowledgeable and proactive, liaise well with our other advisers and provide the Trustees with an invaluable secretarial service.
Ian Edwards,
Chair of Trustees, Comet

Taking a deep dive into technology and pensions… part 1

I think now is the time to reflect on the positives that technology (or digitisation) can make so managing pension schemes is more like plain sailing. Digitisation is being looked at by most companies and the pensions industry is no exception, although at a much slower rate of knots.

The Covid-19 epidemic has accelerated the mindset to dip one's toes into the water, as in-house pension teams, third party suppliers and pension trustees have all had to grapple with how to maintain services and continuity of decision making while working remotely. For instance, at PSGS, trustee meetings are now run virtually with great success using virtual board packs and video calls.

Unlocking potential

Much more could be leveraged out of effective use of technology. If done properly, the effect can be transformative to your pension scheme.

The drivers for leveraging technology in pensions is gathering speed. The reasons include:

  • pressure on existing resource to do more
  • the ageing population of defined benefit (DB) pension schemes increasing business as usual transactions (more retirements and deaths, for example)
  • environmental strain and sustainability targets
  • more onerous legislative requirements year on year and yet more to come (eg pensions dashboards)
  • member expectations - the drive to provide more and better online services to bring pension schemes in line with other financial service products
  • increased threat of pandemic-related crises and the need to have effective remote working as part of resilience continuity plans
  • the use of ‘big data’ to inform key strategic decision taking and enable projects, such as pension buy ins/buy outs, to be fulfilled - this means systems need to be fit for purpose

Unlocking the potential of people, processes and technology working in synergy will transform day-to-day pensions management. For pensions, technology doesn’t mean physical robots of course but the use artificial intelligence (algorithms), automated routines (programmable macros), data portals and such like.

Take the plunge into the technological sea, the water’s lovely!

From my experience, the positive outcomes that can be achieved through targeted use of technology are significant:

  • cost savings
  • reduction in paper usage
  • improved communications with members on a more regular, targeted basis
  • time savings – some processing times can be reduced by 50% or more
  • focus on value added work for skilled pensions employees
  • clear audit trails
  • flexible working patterns and happier, more productive staff
  • risk of errors are mitigated

What’s not to love?

I know technology isn’t everyone’s strong point and, for some trustee boards, it can be hard to know where to set sail – or how to set the course – for your digitisation journey. If you’re one of those pensions trustees, the areas I suggest you consider first for your pension scheme are:

  1. online communications
  2. data systems, storage and reporting
  3. physical archive storage
  4. high volume processes
  5. quotations

There’s help out there if you need it – I’m happy to chat to any pensions managers or trustees interested in progressing their digitisation journey but feeling a bit bogged down by the swell. Yes, there are barriers to overcome; but none of the challenges I’ve seen or heard first-hand are insurmountable. So much is about getting the right mindset.

In the second part of this blog, I’ll look at how to set, sail, navigate obstacles and keep on course in more depth.



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