The FINANCIAL — New research by Accenture sheds light on the use of technology by public sector pension organizations in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia, with strong agreement among organization management that digital advances will improve services to members and improve internal efficiency.
The research assessed public pension organizations’ leadership perceptions, attitudes and experiences regarding use of digital and other technologies for processing routine requests or tasks, also known as “straight-through processing.”
In the U.S., 63 percent of respondents agreed that straight-through processing would help improve member services, while 81 percent agreed in the U.K. and 94 percent agreed in Australia. It is also seen as a pathway to improve internal efficiency by 81 percent of U.S. respondents, 86 percent in the U.K., and 96 percent in Australia.
The research indicated that adoption rates of straight-through processing by public pension organizations vary widely across the three countries studied. In the U.S. only 23 percent of managers said their organization has adopted any straight-through processing, compared to 42 percent in the U.K. and 94 percent in Australia. Fifty-six percent of U.S. respondents said their organization was lagging behind comparable organizations, compared to 39 percent in the U.K. and 42 percent in Australia.
“The digital revolution is just beginning to reshape the way public pension organizations operate and serve their members,” said Owen Davies, managing director in Accenture’s pensions practice. “Pressures for increased administrative efficiency and modern customer services are waking pension organizations up to new and emerging digital opportunities to transform how they operate.”
A variety of barriers to adoption of straight-through processing are perceived across all three countries, including IT concerns (especially security), complexity of required organizational change, lack of budget and lack of leadership support. However, most respondents in all three countries agreed the barriers can feasibly be overcome in the next five years (58 percent agreed in the U.S., 51 percent in the U.K., 90 percent in Australia).