As part of our series looking at what firms did to win accolades at the UK Pensions Awards 2016, PP speaks to Hymans Robertson partners Patrick Bloomfield and Calum Cooper about how the firm won the Actuarial / Pensions Consultancy of the Year category.
Video: Hymans Robertson partner Patrick Bloomfield
Interview: Hymans Robertson partner Calum Cooper
PP: What does it mean to win this award?
CC: We're ecstatic to have won another award! We're hugely privileged to have such fantastic clients and a great team of consultants who love finding ways to make a positive difference for our clients. It's a privilege all the more for knowing that this award reflects making a sustainable difference, year in year out - having been selected for this award six years in the last nine.
While winning trophies, and attending award ceremonies, is fun, our focus is always on delivering more certain financial futures - for pension schemes, their sponsors, and ultimately, those who matter most, pensioners.
PP: What do you believe sets you apart from your peers and contributes to this success?
CC: We put the long-term success of our clients at the heart of everything we do. We constantly strive to understand the needs of our market and respond by evolving our services and developing new approaches and solutions, to help our clients solve their pension problems.
It's this combination of a unique client experience, a risk focused consulting approach and unparalleled technology and research that sets us apart. And it seems to be working. In last year's client survey, our clients gave us a Net Promoter Score (a measure of loyalty based on clients' likelihood to recommend) of 44 - double the industry average.
PP: What are the key challenges facing your pension scheme clients and how are you helping them address these issues?
CC: When we surveyed trustees last year, they told us their single biggest challenge was understanding risk and knowing when to de-risk. That's why we developed our Road to Resilience risk management framework. It breaks the DB risk journey into four measureable milestones - Sustainability, Growth, Income and Protection - helping clients become more resilient to risk by understanding, prioritising and managing risk whatever stage of the journey they are on.
Our fully integrated 3D Funding approach and supporting technology 3D Analytics looks at covenant, investment and contributions in a joined up way. It ensures schemes identify the best strategy to deliver stability, security and resilience to risk. Additionally, for the first time this year we've helped our clients to integrate long term covenant risk, and therefore to measurably improve the likelihood of delivering their members' benefits in full. Notably, we've also been raising awareness of cashflow risk associated with the Income milestone. As schemes increasingly mature, sleepwalking through cashflow negativity poses a serious threat. Addressing this issue is something we've been advocating for more than a year, so we're delighted to see tPR recognise the importance of this issue in this year's annual funding statement.
PP: How will you continue to improve your services to pension scheme clients over the coming 12 months?
CC: The pensions landscape continues to evolve at pace and we believe the historic data reliance and triennial approach to funding is no longer fi t for purpose. Schemes need a more dynamic approach to managing risk. So that's what we'll be offering our clients this year through our new ‘on demand' approach to valuations. It will make over or under-estimating funding and cashflows, based on historic data, a thing of the past. Combining this with an innovative, visual and risk-based governance framework allows our clients to even more effectively manage risk. It's the 21st century pensions equivalent of ditching the sundial and adopting the sat nav. This approach helps our clients achieve their clear long-term objectives whilst ensuring they go at the right pace and take no more risk than required.
Extract from Hymans Robertson's original UKPA submission
Hymans Robertson's focus is on delivering more certain financial futures - for pension schemes, their sponsors, and ultimately for those who matter most, pensioners.
In order to do this it has worked hard to understand the needs of the market through in depth client and market research.
This approach has paid off and, during the year, Hymans Robertson won 19 new clients, retained eight clients in tenders and added £27bn of new assets under advice.
In addition to this, clients gave Hymans Robertson an average Net Promoter Score of 44, double the industry average.
During the year, Hymans also developed a new risk management framework - The Road to Resilience - to help schemes understand risk, something they said had been their biggest challenge in 2014.
This framework is based around four measurable milestones - managing the cost of benefits, taking the right risks, managing capital risks and transferring risks - and helps clients understand where they are on their risk journey and prioritise risk management efforts.
Hymans has also developed a free mapping tool which shows schemes which mile they are on, highlighting the key risks and challenges they face and, helping identify the priorities to focus on.
In addition to this, Hymans Robertson has also introduced a measure of long-term covenant risk, offering clients truly integrated risk management.
And it has done a large amount of work around raising the awareness and need for cashflow planning and working this into clients' strategic reviews.
During the year, Hymans Robertson also enhanced its 3D analytics tool so results of strategic reviews can be explored interactively in real time; and also innovated in the risk transfer market, giving clients better access to pricing and analytics.
The UK Pensions Awards 2016 Winners' Series
- How Hymans Robertson won the Actuarial / Pensions Consultancy of the Year award
- How Capita Employee Benefits won the Employee Benefits Consultancy of the Year award
- How LCP won the DC Consultancy of the Year award
- How Hymans Robertson won the Investment Consultancy of the Year award
- How Travers Smith won the Pension Lawyers of the Year award
- How LCP won the Risk Reduction Adviser of the Year award
- How B&CE won the DC Pension Provider of the Year award
- How The People's Pension won the DC Master Trust of the Year award
- How Hymans Robertson won the Third-Party Administrator of the Year award
- How LCP won the DC Innovation of the Year award
- How Hymans Robertson won the DC Investment Innovation of the Year award
- How Capita Employee Benefits won the Communication Innovation of the Year award
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Aon has been re-appointed by the £400m ITN Pension Scheme to provide fiduciary management services.