Global reach, local knowledge: Procentia helps TMF Group grow employee benefits business

Multinational professional services firm TMF Group is leveraging the functionality and capability of Procentia’s IntelliPen pensions administration system to take its growing employee benefits business to the next level.

Headquartered in Amsterdam, TMF Group has over 9,000 employees and more than 125 offices worldwide. However, this €650 million revenue generating business is targeting further growth, and has identified employee benefits as a key area of focus. Procentia’s IntelliPen, an advanced software product that provides a complete occupational group pensions system, is the platform TMF Group has chosen to make that progression.

‘With the implementation of IntelliPen, our aim is to enhance our pension, retirement and savings plan administration service, putting us at the top table with a best-of-breed solution,’ says Guy Walton, Technology Specialist – Employee Benefits at TMF Group in Jersey.

The specific focus area for TMF is the administration of international pensions and savings plans, which complements their professional trustee service capabilities.

‘Our target market is globally mobile employees,’ explains Annette Balcombe, Group Technical Specialist – Employee Benefits. ‘For example, a UK-based blue-chip company might have its own plan, but they’ll also have people dotted around the world who do not conveniently fall into a pension scheme. That’s where we come in.’

She continues: ‘We did a thorough review of the market, spanning 10 to 12 different providers, but IntelliPen offered a great cost-to-performance ratio. Also, we wanted a system that would be intuitive for administrators to use. The design of IntelliPen is powerful in terms of its workflow engine, calculation engine and reporting functionality. The fact that the administrator can complete tasks quickly means that our service provision will be even better, which in turn means we’ll attract more clients.’

Pension/savings combination

TMF already has clients on the system’s back end, while the front-end client portal is being rolled out in phases in line with various emerging opportunities. The company also has an approved international savings plan structure that it can combine with traditional pension plans.

‘There’s a need for capital throughout life, not just at retirement, with events such as paying off student loans, getting on the housing ladder, weddings,  school/university fees etc,’ explains Guy. ‘We don’t want to detract from retirement planning but offering a hybrid structure gives employees a greater opportunity to invest for benefits at more regular intervals, while encouraging member engagement with greater financial planning. This is also a growing area due to changes in retirement planning in certain geographical regions. Many expatriates are remaining for several years rather than returning home or moving elsewhere after a few months. There needs to be more options for these people.’

A key part of growing TMF’s employee benefits offer is making sure it has the right systems in place to perform a high standard of work for a competitive price.

‘The IntelliPen standard system was already at a strong level when we did our review in 2019, but we’ve made a few changes with the help of Procentia to enhance our offering,’ says Guy.

Importantly, the underlying IntelliSite content management system (CMS) and the configurability of IntelliPen allows the addition of new functionality easily and cost-effectively. For TMF, Procentia developed a bespoke version of its member and employer portals within IntelliSite and set up initial schemes with a new joiner interface in IntelliPen to load member data. 

Integral FX rates

There are several further project implementation points worth highlighting, such as the inclusion of foreign currency exchange (FX) rates. The presence of FX rates allows members to view monetary values in their accounts in a currency other than that used by the scheme.

‘By building in FX functionality, it not only gives our members the ability to look at information in the currency where they reside, but allows them to see what it might be worth if they return home or retire to New Zealand, for example,’ explains Guy. ‘We can add new currencies to the data file [in the background] and the IntelliPen system simply uploads the file and creates a new record for it. With the controls and validation rules put in place by the workflow, we ensure only high-quality data enters the system. Any issues that occur during the uploading of FX data create a workflow case, and flag that we need to review the information, again enhancing the overall member experience.’

Procentia also included the ability for employers to upload third-party data files, some of which feed directly into the IntelliFeed interfacing system or launch workflows to prompt administrator action.

‘Traditionally, if you were to have new joiners or contribution rates, clients would send all the information on a spreadsheet by email,’ says Guy. ‘This would likely be in their own format, necessitating a TMF administrator to map that information on to the upload spreadsheet or type it directly into the system, introducing the risk of human error. Having information directly from the employer with system upload capabilities provides more secure data transfer. Of course, in line with the workflow process we still check and validate the data, but it provides a more streamlined service for the employer.’

Simple workflow creation

TMF has already implemented 30 IntelliPen workflow processes with plans to increase this number and enhance these workflows further through regular reviews, alongside administrator and client feedback.

‘One reason we like Procentia is the ease with which we can create workflows, with its simple set-up tools and ways to add validation rules,’ Guy says. ‘It makes the upload process far more robust, rather than just uploading static data without any checks.’

There are still a few small development projects ongoing, many of which focus on usability enhancements and self-service functionality, with current functionality including updating personal contact details and nominated beneficiaries, amending contribution rates and investment switch requests.

‘In terms of fundamental changes, the ability to add member-specific documents to the member site is probably the biggest,’ states Guy. ‘This links up with the ability to add attachments to “contact us” forms via the portal rather than by email which provides greater data security for file transfers through the use of end-to-end encryption.’

Another important development involves the employer portal and the trust summary screen, where Procentia is creating an alternative employer HR dashboard that will link to a specific plan configuration code.

‘Some of our clients look for very specific management information that is not provided by another system,’ explains Guy. ‘We can use existing functionality in the back end of IntelliPen and present it in a way that’s meaningful to clients. It’s great that Procentia can adapt various screens to make them client specific.’

In line with TMF’s requirements, Procentia is also developing vesting matrices, which are mechanisms to automatically determine when a benefit becomes available (vested) to the member e.g. after a pre-determined service period.

Enhanced member experience

Clearly, the partnership between Procentia and TMF Group is all about the member experience, access to information and clear communication between employers and members.

‘We have detailed conversations with developers and project managers at Procentia to ensure they fully understand our requirements, but we always get a high-quality product,’ says Guy. ‘Procentia adopts a client-centric approach and always hits any hard deadlines we set, which is very reassuring.’

TMF ultimately needs to provide a first-class service to its clients across the globe. To reach that point, the company requires a high-quality pensions administration platform and access to development experts.

‘By growing this platform and improving our offering, we’ll ultimately bring in more business, perhaps catering for schemes with thousands of members,’ concludes Guy. ‘This is not possible without a platform like IntelliPen. It’s not just about providing an excellent service but maintaining a service standard across our facilities worldwide. Our target is generating additional revenue and growing employee benefits to become a more integral part of TMF’s core business. We can then link it with our HR and Payroll functions across our global network of offices and give clients the option of a one-stop shop.’