Industry Voice: Pension administration - creating the digital service of tomorrow

22nd July 2021

Simon Barker looks at how schemes can switch their admin provider

For the numerous pensions schemes that have been using the same pension administration system for many years, the idea of change can seem daunting. Concerns over workload, resource, cost, and training will undoubtably be front of mind for those considering making a switch.

However, as pressure continues to build to deliver better services and meet the ever-changing expectations of members, many schemes are keen to understand how technology can help them meet the challenge.

The good news is that the solutions are there - and we can help. Smart, tailored software solutions allow funds to empower members through an expanded range of digital services, reducing the workload on already strained administration teams.

Short-term change, long-term gain

For administrators of the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) the problems are particularly serious. With the requirement to manage McCloud and ongoing pressure to deliver better, more efficient services to members, at lower cost - most pension schemes already have their hands full. The idea of going through a time consuming, complex procurement and then implementing a new system is, understandably, not attractive. Sticking with your existing pensions administration software (and its limitations) might seem like the safest, least disruptive option! But change in the short-term can deliver far reaching benefits in the longer-term. Enhanced services, reduced costs and - ultimately - a membership which feels more satisfied and empowered to make decisions shaping its future.

Sticking with the current status quo isn't the only option, it's never been more straightforward to select and implement new pensions administration software.

One size doesn't fit all…

Contemporary pension administration software is pre-configured to meet the needs of LGPS administration teams with best practice workflows, documentation templates and powerful digital solutions for members and employers. This means that an LGPS fund can take advantage of a new system in a matter of months, with no need to spend vast amounts of time trying to decide how best to set the system up. Coupled with proven implementation approaches and powerful migration tools, it's easy to seamlessly transition to a new solution that will transform the services a scheme delivers and offer the breadth of services to members that they increasingly expect.

This is exactly what Southwark Council has decided to do over a 12-month timeframe. The Council said:

The new Civica platform will give us all the tools to provide a much-improved service to our members, employers and stakeholders such as the Local Pensions Board. The platform will help future-proof our digital systems and we'll also benefit from longer-term cost savings of around 40% in cloud deployment and support".

It's never been easier…

Now that the National LGPS Framework is in place, undertaking a procurement exercise is dramatically simplified. There's no longer any need to write complex and detailed requirements, because that's all provided as part of the comprehensive contracting framework. Funds will benefit from this whilst still making local decisions about service requirements. The LGPS is already collectively benefiting from more than £119m in savings from the National LGPS Frameworks programme.

Civica's successful appointment onto the framework reflects our expertise in this market and our ability to improve both back-office processes and front-line services. Being able to reduce effort as well as procurement timescales is a real win-win for suppliers and LGPS Funds and will be of major benefit for our customers."

Chris Jones, Managing Director, Pensions at Civica

Thinking about tomorrow

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the journey towards a digital future for public services. After a year of online GP appointments, home schooling and virtual working, people of all ages and backgrounds have a newfound appreciation for what can be achieved through digital technologies. As citizens, our expectations of what can be delivered using smart software have changed significantly and will continue to change in the years ahead. This is as true for pensions schemes as it is for any other part of the economy. Now is the perfect time to seriously evaluate the technology that you use to manage your pension scheme.

It's never been easier to take advantage of smart technologies to transform your administration and offer an automated solution which saves you time and money, provides better outcomes and empowers your members.