As part of our series looking at what firms did to win accolades at the UK Pensions Awards 2016, PP speaks to Capita Employee Benefits head of marketing Robin Hames about how the firm won the Employee Benefits Consultancy of the Year category.
Video: Capita Employee Benefits head of marketing Robin Hames
PP: What does it mean to win this award?
RH: We’re delighted the judges felt our submission was the strongest in what was a competitive field. Peer recognition is a great fillip for everyone who works so hard to deliver excellence for our clients. It’s really a team eff ort across our consultants, creatives, data analysts, technologists and administrators.
PP: What do you believe sets you apart from your peers and contributes to this success?
RH: I think it’s a combination of our innovative approaches, use of technology and client care. We’re the pioneers of applying data science to employee benefits consultancy. We established our data science team in early 2014 and it has absolutely transformed the way we consult and delivered tremendous results for our clients.
I have to make special mention of Creative Sparks, our in-house communications agency. In their own stead they have been recognised at three major awards in 2016 (including the UKPA!). They have done fantastic work. From amazing paper-based communications right through to cutting-edge digital media projects: augmented reality and gamification.
We have terrific proprietary technology: our administration platform, is long-established, incredibly reliable and quick to adapt. We were ready with full flexibility from day one of the freedom and choices reforms going live. We also have Orbit, our online benefits portal, allowing employers to offer a single platform for not only all their pensions (DB and DC) but also for their entire suite of employee benefits.
Perhaps less well-known are our pension and online software solutions for in-house teams; but it’s actually one of our fastest growing areas. We’ve won some significant new public and private sector clients and believe we’re offering real competition to what has been seen previously as a rather monopolised, moribund market.
But client care has to be a top priority and I’m delighted we recently retained our ‘Outstanding’ rating from Investors in Customers.
PP: What are the key challenges facing your pension scheme clients and how are you helping them address these issues?
RH: Our 2016 Pension Scheme Insight Report showed that GMP reconciliation, employee engagement, de-risking and managing freedom and choices are seen by trustees and pension managers as the dominant challenges for the next 12 months.
We’re one of the largest providers of GMP services and have been in the reconciliation game for over a decade! We’re actively supporting clients old and new with their GMP projects through dedicated teams based in Leeds and Krakow delivering a valuable service.
As I’ve mentioned Creative Sparks really are leading the way in the area of engagement and we’re in the final throes of releasing their new all-digital Countdown to Retirement education programme which will represent another first.
In the area of de-risking, I’m most excited about the way in which we’re now able to offer some really sophisticated solutions to the smaller schemes market; watch this space for our forthcoming Full Service Solution.
Freedom and Choice is a real challenge and we’re offering trustees a range of options from our Atlas Master Trust’s fully flexible retirement options to ‘pop-up’ administration services to handle in-bound member enquiries and transfer requests.
PP: How will you continue to improve your services to pension scheme clients over the coming 12 months?
RH: Constantly innovate, constantly invest in technology and constantly listen to what our clients are telling us.
Extract from Capita Employee Benefits' original UKPA submission
In 2014, Capita Employee Benefits pioneered the use of data analytics as a dynamic approach to developing employee benefits strategies and, in 2015, it further developed this approach.
Its service, Optimise, provides clients with a data led service that encompasses employee demographic analytics, effective competitive benchmarking and measuring the return on investment, as well as good governance.
Capita has focused on using consumer analytics to better understand client employees and how they interact with benefits – and is in a unique position to do so with over 450,000 individual employees making 10 million benefit decisions a year on its pension and benefits platform.
Its data science team, led by Dr Eric Tyree works alongside Capita’s behavioural economics team led by Dr Laura Haynes to analyse both this data and its clients’ own employee data to build a distinct picture of the preference and aspirations of a workforce. Data analytics is now a staple part of Capita's ongoing advice to clients.
Capita has also developed its Countdown to Retirement programme in response to the pension freedom reforms. This innovative education programme not only considers an employee's financial position but the non-financial and lifestyle changes that retirement brings.
As such, Capita has partnered with iPerform, founded by Paul Hannam, the much published psychologist as well as Roger Black and Steve Backley, the Olympic athletes, to improve the mindset of individuals – creating a suite of videos covering the non-financial matters of retirement; all designed to prepare an individual for the significant emotional and practical change in lifestyle a new pensioner experiences.
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
Jonathan Stapleton asks whether newly-accredited professional trustees should be a statutory fixture on pension scheme boards.
Savers are being warned by the Insolvency Service to guard their pension pots from investment scammers and negligent trustees as it winds up 24 companies.
Respondents say they should only be required in certain situations as the system is not broken.