Much of our work requires gaining a thorough understanding of the issues our clients are facing. We therefore undertake various quality assessments at the outset of our assignments, which include the following:
Current State Assessment
Given the ever-increasing pace of change in the pensions industry and the ongoing evolution of the underlying services to deliver the administration, it is not surprising that few Trustees truly understand all the components, stakeholders / providers, processes or systems that are involved / deployed to provide their members with the day-to-day services they rely on. Demystifying the existing operating model, through a near forensic examination and assessment process, which identified existing strengths and weaknesses is often critical in making sustainable and tangible improvements in the overall service. Our Current State Assessments allow Trustees, often for the first time, to have a complete and transparent understanding of such delivery models.
One of the basic building blocks of good administration is clean and complete data. Ensuring compliance with the Pensions Regulator’s requirements on Record Keeping and maintaining a high level of data quality will support the delivery of a quality administration service. However, we have found that a lack of well-considered tests reduces their value in measuring the data that supports the effective administration of pension schemes.
“Data: PASS”, part of our digital toolkit, has been developed to cater for both common and Scheme-Specific data reviews and can easily be adapted to meet our clients’ needs and report accurate scores. Where our clients are unsure as to whether their Scheme-Specific tests are tailored enough to their own scheme design, we also offer an independent review of the existing tests being run against the nuances of the scheme.
Pension schemes are a prime target for cyber attacks. We leverage the knowledge of our cyber experts within PwC to help Trustees and sponsoring employers understand and manage the threats their scheme faces. Our Game of Threats scenario planning tool can help identify weaknesses and potential responses, and we can even simulate a cyberattack to test the defences /readiness of a scheme’s advisers or provider.
Post Implementation or Transition Review
Where a project has been completed, Trustees and sponsoring employers understand that it is good practice to carry out a post project review, particularly those where an issue has been identified as well as those which have gone over time or budget. We’ve worked with many Trustees and sponsoring employers to implement fixes and identify lessons so that future initiatives run more smoothly.
We also have extensive experience carrying out reviews of complex DC transitions, including Master Trust, to provide comfort that records and assets have been transitioned as expected.
Even with the best of intentions and planning, factors such as staff turnover, lack of skilled resource or other dependencies can result in a distressed project that is at risk of not meeting its objectives. We have worked with many Trustees and sponsoring employers to rescue failing projects, rapidly deploying our experts to identify the underlying problems and to produce a recovery plan.