Embrace robotics, urges PASA

Embrace robotics, urges PASA

The increasing use of robotics in the pensions industry is an opportunity to be seized—and not a change to be feared, Margaret Snowdon, chair of the Pensions Administration Standards Association (PASA), has said.

Evidence from outside the pensions sector has shown that rather than reducing employment, automation and the development of robotics simply changes the jobs that people do, Snowdon explained.

“And as we are seeing already, as robotics move increasingly into areas like pensions administration, fantastic initiatives using technology such as gamification and voice biometrics are being developed and delivered for the good of members.”

In its innovation and regulation plan issued earlier this year, The Pensions Regulator (TPR) noted that pensions administration is “benefiting from new approaches”, including through the use of technology to aid the transfer of data between schemes.

“Although in its infancy, robotic process automation is [also] starting to be used in pension administration as a quick, effective method of carrying out repeatable, transactional and rule-based activities,” TPR noted.

Central to the success of robotics in the pensions industry will be to listen to members and understand how they want to engage, “so that we ensure that where they want interaction with a person they have it”, Snowdon of PASA said.

“If we juggle this fine balance in the right way then skilled pension professionals can be freed up from repetitive tasks to instead focus on providing the service and the help that members truly want and need.”

PASA chair Snowdon added: “Critical to the success of robotics is that the volume of poor data is addressed, as data must be good enough to allow the technology to follow an automated pathway and to help members make more appropriate decisions. This will no doubt pose a hurdle for many, but should already be high priority for schemes in preparation for the new GDPR regulations.”

“If we commit to getting this done and the incorporation of robotics is managed in the right way, then we have the potential to restore confidence in the industry and in saving for retirement overall. It could help avoid the spectre of pensioner poverty and greatly enhance members’ retirement outcome potential.”

Categories: News, UK Pensions

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