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The Pension Administration market – views from a third-party evaluator

Professional Pensions recently published the results of its 2020 survey on third-party administrators (TPAs) and software providers for pension schemes. TPAs were ranked on different service elements such as data accuracy, flexibility, customer service and technology.

We have seen a number of established pension administration firms moving into the space that was once reserved for larger, established firms and this continues to be an evolving position. It is now encouraging to see different names join that mix. With the consolidation of many Pensions Administration providers of late, the pool of good quality TPAs available to trustees has shrunk considerably, particularly at the larger end. So the continual development from the medium-sized firms continues to breathe new life into the Third-Party Administration market.

Pension Administration Recognition

Having worked in the pensions industry for over 30 years now, I have long campaigned for Pensions Administration to be recognised and revered for the important service that it is. Of course, we need our Scheme Actuaries, our Investment Consultants, our Legal Advisers etc, but what other pension service is as vital for ensuring members are fed, watered and comforted!

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the item at the top of all TPAs’ business agendas, was ensuring members’ pensions were paid without interruption and, to my knowledge, this appears to have been achieved without fail. And this was done when all pensions administrators were forced into conducting their work from their homes, having to manage both personal and professional lives from the same room!  

Above all TPAs provide comfort to members of the pension scheme. The first nine years of my pensions career were spent in Pensions Administration and what stands out to this day are the important interactions I had daily with the members of the pension schemes I looked after. It was hugely satisfying to me to help members with whatever issue they had, as well as being an integral part of the support they received.

To conclude, it is inspiring and encouraging to see continued investment being made in TPAs, providing options and choice in the market for trustees.

Lisa Riordan is Head of Procurement at Pi Consulting, responsible for conducting pension adviser reviews. Over the last 16 years, Lisa has led numerous TPA evaluation projects, from operational reviews (working to improve TPA service delivery for trustees) to procurement exercises (identifying the right TPA for trustees and ensuring the service transitions successfully).

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