As part of our series looking at what firms did to win accolades at the UK Pensions Awards 2016, PP speaks to LCP partner Laura Myers about how the firm won the DC Consultancy of the Year category.
Video: LCP partner Laura Myers
PP: What does it mean to win this award?
LM: We're incredibly proud to win this award for the second time in three years. This award is fantastic recognition of the hard work that our DC team has undertaken over the last year - helping our clients and their members achieve their goals. We're particularly pleased to win this year, as 2015 was a difficult year for those running DC schemes, due to the succession of legislative changes we've seen introduced, and we're proud that LCP has helped our clients prioritise and manage these changes successfully.
The award also reflects our developments over the last year, in particular the launch of LCP Horizon our revolutionary on line DC management tool bringing a leap forward to real time insight, governance, investment performance, and member communication. We are able to give our clients control of their schemes and ensure they can meet their goals.
PP: What do you believe sets you apart from your peers and contributes to this success?
LM: Our clients tell us LCP has three key differentiators. Firstly we are independent and provide unbiased advice: we don't have investment funds to sell, or alliances with pension providers, or our own master trust. This means we give a genuinely individual approach to solving client problems.
Secondly, we have a knowledgeable and integrated team of DC experts, working closely together across governance, investment, tax and communications to ensure a seamless and cohesive service.
Finally, we have a culture of innovation - as our technology shows. We have been first in market to launch game changing tools to help our DC clients, like LCP Horizon (the first truly integrated governance, investment monitoring and member communications tool) and our tax modeller.
PP: What are the key challenges facing your pension scheme clients and how are you helping them address these issues?
LM: The key challenge is to get good outcomes for members - that means ensuring that members are contributing what they need to get a good retirement outcome and that the investment strategy is delivering on its objectives.
We find that employers and trustees do want to do more to engage pension savers, but they feel frustrated at the lack of options to do so. That's why we created solutions that help. Using tools like LCP Horizon we can communicate and engage with members more effectively.
We are also seeing many clients recognise the importance of having an independent advisor to review their pension product, for example this year we have been asked to provide investment views of other consultancy's pension products, such as Master Trusts. We are not tied to a single or even multiple providers, enabling us to offer truly independent and impartial advice.
Our team is home to unrivalled experts in DC, and we've expanded by 23% to meet client demands and ensure a continued superb level of service. We continue to raise the standards of DC knowledge and best practice through independent thought leadership and by hosting high quality events during the year, including our market leading DC conference.
PP: How will you continue to improve your services to pension scheme clients over the coming 12 months?
LM: Over the next 12 months we will continue to help our clients sort through the maze of legislative changes allowing our clients, and their members, to focus on what's important. We will continue to develop our technology to bring more real time solutions, more detailed comparisons of how your funds are performing relative to peers, and deeper analytical insight into Value for Money.
Extract from LCP's original UKPA submission
LCP believes its unique approach to defined contribution - centring on its independence, its culture of innovation and its integrated approach - has never been more important.
Indeed, the firm's innovation and high service standards have translated into record business performance for the firm - with LCP reporting 100% client retention and double-digit growth in fee revenue, with a 130% increase in number of new clients and projects in 2014/15 compared to the previous year.
During 2015, LCP worked hard to raise the standards of DC knowledge and best practice through independent thought-leadership and by hosting high quality events during the year, including its market leading DC conference.
It also developed the LCP Tax Modeller in reaction to last July's Budget announcement. The modeller was built in-house and made accessible to employees online - taking account of their scheme's benefit and contribution structure, their personal details, and distilling the many moving parts in the tax charge calculation into easy outputs.
LCP says the clients that have used its modeller have greater control of their communication plan and receive fewer questions, meaning valuable resource can be focused where it is needed.
The consultant has also created LCP Horizon, a tool that became fully operational during the summer of 2015. LCP Horizon allows clients running a DC scheme, regardless of their underlying administrator or provider platform, to have unrivalled access to DC analytics about their members and allows trustees and employers to set scheme specific - and member specific - targets for member retirement savings.
It also allows users to monitor a scheme's investment strategies in real-time and identify segments of members, send them targeted communications and track what action is taken as a result.
LCP Horizon also includes 'nudge' functionality and also allows trustees to measure the success of their governance, investment and communication strategies.
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