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Pension firm banks on tech to weather Covid-19 storm

FINANCIAL STANDARD
By Awal Mohammed | July 20th 2021
From left, Liaison Group Managing Director Tom Mulwa and Group Head Pensions Michael Mitau (right) demonstrates the new Pensions Management System that is set to transform the user experience, to Retirement Benefits Authority (RBA) CEO Nzomo Mutuku during trustees management forum on the value of proposition of technology in the Future of pensions. [David Njaaga, Standard].

As the economy continues to shrug off the economic effects occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic, the pension sector is looking to capitalise on digitisation.

The Liason Group, one of the major players in the sector, plans to digitise all its operations as it seeks to grow post-pandemic.

At its recent bi-annual trustee fund management conference, the scheme laid down its strategic plan in achieving the digitisation project.

“As a group, we recognise the importance of aligning our services digitally and how it can help boost our growth. The future of pension schemes is firmly anchored in capitalising on the digital space,” said Liason Head of Pension Mike Mitai.

Technology promises reduced cost in terms of labour, improved governance and security in record keeping and hence an enhanced member experience.

Group Managing Director Tom Mulwa allayed the fears associated with online transactions, saying the firm has ensured the safety of members’ funds.

“We have invested heavily on our security online to protect our members’ investment. We are also alive to the dangers associated with online fraud, which we have successfully eliminated in our space,” he said.

About 60 per cent of the Liaison’s business is in risk advisory both in general and healthcare, targeting corporates and government parastatals. The others are in pension management and investment.

The conference came a year after the group launched its first-ever self-service e-portal that allows customers to choose their preferred insurer when in need of insurance services.

The portal gives customers the freedom to compare different insurance companies and, in turn, make more informed decisions on where to put their money.

The app also gives the customers an opportunity to utilise the functionalities of a single platform to gain visibility across an entire spectrum of business, delivering integrated capabilities to manage policy information through a single click of a button.

Speaking during the conference, Prof Bitange Ndemo from the University of Nairobi said time is ripe for players in the sector to capitalise on the usage of data to improve their competitiveness.

“The pension sector should tap into data to recognise its consumers’ (saving) patterns hence easily be able to tailor products to suit them,” he said.

The country pension penetration has stalled at 12 per cent, with various players grappling with reduced member numbers, particularly in the private sector.

Retirement Benefits Authority (RBA) Chief Executive Nzomo Mutuku said the push to include the informal sector into pension schemes is difficult due to uncertainties, such as the lack of a consistent payroll.

“We are working on tying pension contribution in the informal sector to consumption in that if you buy a commodity, a certain percentage will go into your contribution,” said Mr Mutuku.

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