The business development department or team in a pension company does much more than the selling of products. At People’s Pension Trust it entails developing initiatives, fostering partnerships, and developing strategies that provide a win-win situation for all stakeholders. Our Newsletter this week features the trio that holds our corporate members together, underscoring their daily activities and their strategy during this pandemic.
PPT - What does your role entail on a typical working day?
Bus. Dev. Team - On a typical day, we select territories, identify the organizations there and present our product offerings. For existing members, we normally visit them mid-month to pick their payments and use that opportunity to address whatever challenges they may have swiftly. When it comes to the Corporate Trustees, our role for TIER 2 clients is spelt out in the law. There is very little room for you to do anything outside what is in the law, and that has its pros and cons.
When we started the Tier 2 business, we realized that most companies complained about their Trustees not visiting them. Most of them had cheques to remit but their schedule officer may be busy, and this delays the payment of such cheques. I think this speaks to the relationship between the trustees and the member companies, so we decided to capitalize on member engagement and relationship management to make an impact in that domain.
PPT - Considering that the personal pension scheme can be a source of additional income to formal sector workers in retirement, do you propose them on your rounds, if yes how receptive are your corporate clients to signing on to the scheme.
Bus Dev Team - Yes, we certainly do. When we visit the organizations, we propose The Occupational Pension Scheme to them first. Irrespective of the outcome of that proposal, we follow up with the Pension Clinic. The Pension Clinic is a diagnostic program that allows us to educate members on pension in general and other topical retirement-related issues. Based on that, we then rope in the Personal Pension Scheme and surprisingly, people are very receptive. We have several of our Tier 2 members who have signed on to Tier 3. Some go to the extent of having the deductions done at source, some pay via auto-debit, and others sign on to the monthly bank transfers. So, they are quite responsive.
PPT - Looking at all the changes that have happened in the pension sphere, and by extension the entire world in the past year, what strategies are you putting in place to navigate the waters?
Bus Dev Team - Last year’s quarantine brought a lot of things to light for our target group. When you look at the contribution trends, before, during, and after Covid, we are doing much better post-Covid. So I can say that Covid was an eye-opener for our members. They have a firsthand experience of what retirement may look like, especially for those whose incomes were reduced or who lost their jobs entirely. We realized that most companies had laid off their employees and some were totally out of business. The strategy we adopted was to strengthen the relationship even during quarantine and that alone proved to be a very fruitful exercise. Some members ported their existing funds with other trustees to us and others signed on to the personal pension scheme. Based on the relationship that we were able to build, we had referrals from other companies. We also used that to sign on a lot of entrepreneurs onto the scheme, because such workers have very few safety nets for such situations and Covid highlighted the need for them to prepare for their retirement. So, we have a good number of sole proprietors signed on to the scheme now due to that.
Another thing we resorted to was to fortify our sensitization efforts because anytime we educate people on the pension system in Ghana, it looks like they are hearing it for the first time. It's quite eye-opening for them, so the educational campaigns are helpful. When it comes to education and sensitization, we are the best; because the New Pension Structure has been in existence for over 10 years but very few people are informed on the structure. So education is a major part of our role.
PPT - There has been a paradigm shift towards the intensive use of technology in our processes, what opportunities does this present to you in your role?
Bus Dev Team - We have realized that since we started this digitization campaign, most Tier 2 companies prefer making payments via USSD. The number of defaulters has considerably reduced, payments come in promptly, which is very good for the employees as well. So, when we go scouting for business, we dedicate a lot more time to customer engagement and marketing and also address any concerns the members may have.Interestingly, men sign on to personal pension than women so it's one of our focal areas for the year. To encourage more women to sign on and bring some gender parity in retirement planning.
PPT - Any other remarks?
Bus Dev Team - We have come to appreciate the importance of education and sensitization in driving member uptake and financial inclusion. About 70% of the companies that we offer education sign on after our sensitization efforts. The team will continually work to drive the importance of retirement planning home, so corporate members can also enjoy the benefits of the personal pension scheme in retirement. Successful business development impacts every department within the organization providing varied opportunities for expansion.
We are grateful to Eric and his team for their contribution to providing a better tomorrow for formal sector workers.
Pension Weekly - Edition 19 - May 2021
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