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Accenture Pensions on delivering public service for the future

Pensions for the Future in North America

Overview

Public service tomorrow will look very different than it does today. It has to. Economic, social and technological trends make the status quo increasingly untenable.

To better define public service for the future, Accenture identified four structural shifts in public service design and delivery that are critical to cost-effectively increase government productivity and citizen engagement and satisfaction.

Drawing on our experience with the global pension community, Accenture Pensions explored what these shifts specifically mean for pension services. We discovered that some pension organizations are gaining traction in several areas, suggesting that pensions for the future is not as far away as some might think.

Background

Accenture’s Delivering Public Service for the Future program, a series of global reports and perspectives on what public service for the future should mean and what it will take to get there, aims to help public service leaders fulfill their promise to deliver flourishing societies, safe and secure nations and economic vitality to their citizens efficiently and cost-effectively.

To deliver public service for the future agencies—including public retirement systems—must move from:

  1. Standardized to personalized services;

  2. Reactive to insight-driven;

  3. Public management to public entrepreneurship; and

  4. Budget cuts to mission productivity.

Analysis

Drawing on our experience with the global pension community, we explored what these shifts specifically mean for pension services:

  1. Provide more options
    The need for personalization in pensions has never been greater—both in terms of the plan structures that are offered and the service delivery options across the pension lifecycle.

    In some cases, public employees struggle to secure a stable retirement from government pension alone. As such, pension organizations must engage with members in new ways—evolving into advisors that educate people about available options. This means engaging and educating members like never before.

  2. Act on data insight
    Pension organizations have access to more kinds of data from more sources than ever. The bad news is that deriving actionable insights from all this data is not always easy to do.

    Moving forward, analytics capabilities will be “mission critical” in pensions. Organizations can use analytics to enhance pension forecasting accuracy in areas such as contribution rates. In addition, analytics insights on waste, fraud and abuse can help agencies take a more proactive, and, ultimately, less costly and time-intensive approach to improving compliance.

  1. Make new connections
    As pension organizations reinvent how they work, an important shift will be to look outside the organization to form non-traditional partnerships with entities such as financial organizations and health exchanges.

    This is an excellent way to connect to necessary but non-core skills and to align resources for maximum effectiveness and greater government productivity. It is also an opportunity to adapt leading practices to design innovative delivery models for new efficiencies and improved service.

  2. Unleash productivity
    Being more productive—providing more quality pension services at lower cost—is at the heart of delivering pensions for the future. Getting there will mean substantial changes across many pension functions.

    It will be important for agencies to maximize resource use, which will involve automating administrative processes. It is also important for pension managers to use performance management and reporting tools to improve overall productivity in a truly measurable and practical way. It is about making deliberate moves to drive a “managing for outcomes” culture.

Recommendations

From the global pension crisis to legislative pressures, talk of the future of pensions has been mired in gloom and doom of late. While the pension community faces tough challenges, the future holds exciting possibilities. Discovering this potential—creating pensions for the future—will demand significant but achievable changes. Just like the people they serve, pension organizations must now start planning for their own futures.

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Pensions for the Future in North America