My typical week starts and ends with internal meetings, reports and analytics. Work inflow, transaction completion levels, Service Level Agreement (SLA) attainment, resourcing levels and more. We start the week ensuring load balancing between teams, identifying spikes in work, critical projects and holiday schedules. Are there any efficiencies we could gain, could automation help, or do resources need to be moved around? We end the week with an operational review, lessons learned and key deliverables for the following week, month, quarter or even year.
Technical & regulatory
The next priority is always legislation, as any misstep in this area can land the business in serious regulatory and legislative trouble. The Government and regulators keep us on our toes. We might need to add some anti-scam literature into member communication, catch up with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and other administrators to review where we are on the on the Guaranteed Minimum Pension (GMP) reconciliation process or review the Pension Administration Standards Association’s (PASA) latest guidance on transfers. Every change in legislation can have a huge impact on pension administration operations and it is therefore important to keep close to new legislation to ensure that it is created whilst keeping in mind.
Client communication and stakeholder management
On one side, pension administration is all about communication to scheme members. At the other end, at the core of our business, it is all about managing clients. With a large client base there will always be significant projects running on a quarter of them at any one time. A data cleanse, acquisition, buy-in or de-risking exercise. Managing client expectations and delivering the very best service every single time is always a challenge, but that is the joy of high quality customer service.
The best part of pension administration for me is definitely evolving new solutions. Investigating Artificial Intelligence to provide DC guidance to members, biometrics to tighten up member ID verification or rolling out a new interactive website to help members manage their pensions from wherever they may be in the world. My current project is creating an integrated administration-advice solution to protect members as they make choices around retirement options.
Yes, there are downsides to the job. I have three hours of compliance training to look forward to this week, invoices to check and pay, suppliers to be negotiated with and new business pitches to attend. However, the breadth of experience available within pension administration means that there are always multiple challenges to be juggled at any given time.
This article was featured in Pensions Aspects magazine September edition.
Last update: 19 January 2021