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
In my experience, not all professional trustees are able to cope with tricky or potentially confrontational situations. I find PSGS has massive experience in getting involved, earning the respect of others and resolving such issues. They get stuck in – they are a first rate team.
Katherine Dandy,
Partner at Sackers & Partners
They deliver above expectation when the scheme has a particular challenge.
Ian Edwards,
Comet
The trustee training course covered a wide variety of subjects which gives a good basis for future discussion and decision making during trustee meetings.
Jean-Paul Gobel,
Heerema
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
Wish I'd had the opportunity to do the Trustee training course sooner!
Stuart Atkins,
Raleigh UK Ltd

Taking a deep dive into technology and pensions… part 2

Part 1 of this blog looked at some positive outcomes that can be achieved by a pension scheme setting sail on a digitisation journey. In part 2, I’ll tackle overcoming barriers head on!

“I’m too busy”

If you feel you simply don’t have the headspace or capacity to look at this within your pension management team, first look for assistance internally – maybe the sponsor has a change or performance excellence team you can tap into. Then look externally, outsource the pain to pensions management experts who can dive straight in and instantly add value. Remember what you’ve got to gain…

“We don’t have any budget for this”

Putting together a cost benefit analysis will demonstrate the value of embarking on a digital journey. It will show investment of time and resources can be worthwhile, helping counteract the too busy argument too.

“People prefer to talk to someone and/or I don’t like/use computers”

There’s often a misconception that older pension scheme members do not like technology. The rise of technology use is well documented – ONS figures showed use of the internet for 65-74 year olds grew from 52% in 2011 to 83% in 2019. Yes, technology isn’t suitable for all members and there should be options to opt out of online, but this should be the exception rather than the default.

My recent experience showed roughly 2/3rds of pension members under 70 were happy to remain online when given the choice. However, testing user experience is crucial to the success of ongoing engagement, as is providing assurances over data security and protection to allay any fears pension trustees and scheme members may have.

“Robots are taking over our jobs!” (or “we’ve always done it this way”)

Technology should complement skilled staff, removing routine operational tasks so more human time can be spent on complex or strategic work and giving headroom for personal and professional development. New services can be developed to create brand new opportunities. Challenge the status quo. The workstream owner/project sponsor should clearly outline the value added and pain removed to colleagues and stakeholders.

Setting sail and keeping on course

Leveraging technology is by no means easy sailing. However, a planned approach can get the engagement you need and help focus your time. Here’s an outline of steps to set your course:

Evaluate

  • investigate your major pain points
  • consider how pension scheme work is going to change in the next 5+ years
  • research and speak to similar pension schemes or industries
  • understand the completeness of your data
  • identify the key decision maker(s) you need to engage with

Plan

  • prioritise your areas of improvement across each quarter in a 1-3 year programme
  • assess if you have the skills with your pensions management team or elsewhere at the scheme sponsor
  • prepare a business case
  • seek feedback – give key stakeholders and users a voice
  • run pilots for large scale changes

Deliver

  • clear communications are key from the start of the journey to go live
  • make training available and accessible where required
  • monitor progress and measure the impact of the changes - share this with key stakeholders and celebrate successes along the way

Always challenge your advisers over what they’re doing to make your life easier and pressure them to work smarter for your pension scheme’s benefit. There are technology-based opportunities already out there or in advanced development that you could benefit from immediately, for example:

  • member tracing and ID
  • digital signatures
  • virtual meeting and governance platforms
  • Power Bi (interactive reporting)
  • real time reporting
  • retirement modellers through to IFA support for those approaching retirement
  • fully online retirement processing

Welcome unchartered waters

Performance improvement and better use of technology should be a continual process. Technology is moving at a rapid pace, so you need an effective mechanism to keep an eye on developments and leverage gains as quickly as possible. Support this by creating and embedding a culture of change – have ‘champions’ to help spread the message and deliver what’s needed.

For me, this is about providing pensions governance plus, ie not just complying, but reviewing best practice with the aim of reducing day-to-day pains and adding value to the running of a pension scheme.

 

 

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