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Written by:

Andy Whitelaw

Head of Administration Strategy

Read Time:

5 minutes

Published:

22 / 05 / 2024

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Stepping up digital services with fully online retirements

“That was the best service ever, from deciding to take my pension to receiving the money, it was so fast and efficient with great communication. Whoever is behind this should be extremely proud, it was a fantastic service.

BTPS Member / May 2024

This was a verbatim comment we received from one of the first BTPS members to use our new fully automated online retirement service. When we read it, we were absolutely delighted.

Over the past five years, we’ve doubled down on bringing our administration services into the modern digital age. We’ve done this so that we can better serve our clients and their members and free up the time for our skilled workforce to spend more time on value-added member-facing activities. It’s great to see that effort paying off.

The Story so far

When Brightwell launched a new online portal for BTPS members in May 2021, we designed a retirement modeller that gave members the ability to run their own retirement quotes for all the different permutations of pension option open to them. Very quickly, 96% of all retirement quotes produced by the Scheme were being generated by members themselves, with c.350,000 produced a year.

This reduced the average turnaround time for quotes from 17.5 days to an average (online and offline quotes combined) of 0.1 days, dramatically improving the response time for members.

From launch, members could also partially complete and submit their application online, which 61.5% of them chose to do in the last 12 months. But the online process stopped there, and members had to complete a paper application, with a wet signature and post those forms, along with a copy of their photo ID to be manually input and checked, and a retirement settlement and payroll case opened.

Encouraged by the high levels of trust members clearly had in our portal quotes, we’ve now closed the automated loop and made the BTPS retirement process fully automated, with no manual intervention required. From quote to payout, Brightwell’s cloud-based administration platform, IntelliPen, automates the whole process in what we believe is a DB sector first.

Innovation for the benefit of members

The new service leverages biometric identity verification and automatically diarises and pays out members’ pensions and lump sums.

This means that now, using the BTPS portal, members can run retirement quotes, decide on their chosen option, confirm their choice, complete the application, verify their identity digitally and submit their application online. This automatically sets up a retirement settlement case, disinvests any additional voluntary contributions (AVCs) they may have, puts them into payment based on their chosen pension start date, pays their tax-free lump sum and converts them to pensioner status, all without any administrator involvement or manual intervention.

Members simply take a photo of their government-issued identity document and a selfie. The technology first checks that the ID is genuine and not fraudulent, and then matches it to the user’s face.

The technology checks that the ID is genuine and not fraudulent, and then matches it to the user’s face.

Meanwhile, in the background, the system automatically carries out a set of comprehensive checks on the member’s data and the automated calculation results to provide all the checks and balances that previously were carried out by administrators. Complex business rules and business logic are embedded to ensure that, for a niche case type where further checks are required by the Trustee or Scheme Rules, the case can be nudged to a skilled administrator for verifying before payments are made. The process has been designed to be flexible and accommodate any exceptions a scheme may want to ‘kick out of the happy path’.

Results

Without any promotion of the service to members, in the first six weeks we had 400 members go through the process with overwhelmingly positive feedback.

We are now starting to proactively promote the service to members coming up to retirement and we expect the majority will choose to use this service for the convenience and security it offers. This will reduce our post volumes, freeing up valuable administrator time which can then be used for handling complex cases, dealing with more vulnerable members and other initiatives to improve member service even further.


Avatar photo

Written by:

Andy Whitelaw

Head of Administration Strategy

Read Time:

5 minutes

Published:

22 / 05 / 2024

Share Article:


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