I work for one of the major Dutch pension implementers.
Our organisation serves more than 10% of the Dutch population.
The administration of pensions is labour-intensive, because companies often had their own regulations in the past.In the Association of Occupational Pension funds in the pension fund sector, these schemes have been maintained, which is complex. Employees within the “manufacturing industry” exchange jobs occasionally, allowing pensions to be distributed across multiple funds. If people have questions about this, our service team tries to help them as well as possible.
On the side of asset management, we see that increasing laws and regulations increase the administrative burden.We need to capture and report more and more, this applies to ourselves as well as to the organisations we work for. This is also labor intensive.
Yet it is not that long ago that our company experienced the first reorganization, with a significant proportion of employees (in a few years time) leaving the company.Some volunteered, others fired.
A fair amount of work has been replaced by far-reaching automation.
It may sound weird, but despite this uncertainty for the future, this is the best thing for our pension participants.The automated work is now being made cheaper if people are able to do so. This reduces the cost of pension execution, leaving people to spend more money on retirement.
Suppose that all business activities of the company can be automated or outsourced, then keep the company in its current form to exist.But the work around the automation will increase, here is development and maintenance, whether it is in the organization or when offering a (SaaS) service.
As a result, a company such as my employer can focus on work that really matter, such as support for the difficult “life events”, such as the death of a participant, through which the pension is to be transferred to the partner.Here, the company can really add value by uncaring the relatives at the time they are working with very different things.
This is also possible on the asset management side, the work of various departments have changed from processing to exception handling over the last few decades and this is the trend for years to come.More with less.
Suppose the government sets a limit here.You may not substitute more than x% of the employees for automation. That is very strange, because the participant of the Pension Fund has no benefit at all. The costs of pension implementation remain artificially high due to such quotas.
To put it directly into perspective: the implementation by organizations like mine is relatively inexpensive compared to commercial providers, due to economies of scale and the lack of a profit-making.
The issue becomes more interesting if we start thinking really big, for example by bringing together several large performers and raising the degree of automation.
There are other interests here, we are talking about hundreds of jobs that are falling.
Those hundreds of people are all voters, and their partners, parents and/or children as well.A government that allows these jobs to disappear will get heavy, no good. Time is needed to make this change.
This kind of tradeoffs is necessary for major automation issues, because these numbers of jobs that disappear require a solid social plan to be present for those who lose their jobs.A gradual transition is therefore more plausible than a rapid change. I immediately note that some of the jobs are shifting to a generic provider or the IT provider, because the demand for the “pension product” remains.
I have recently given a presentation to my team with the final message: The function we have now does not exist over a number of years.A substantial part of the work we are doing now is being taken over by providers outside my organisation. This is better for our pension participants, but if we do not change it this is problematic for us. Our work area changed by automation.
I do not think that the government should impose limits on this.It is better for our customers that this happens, so that we can put more focus on the areas where we can actually add value. On the pension administration side, this is the issue of life-events and supporting the insight into the accumulated pension. Part of this is to automate, but people still work.
On the asset management side, the focus is on risk management and the investing of the money from participants that premiums can remain low and pensions are re-indexed, without the risk of running the coverage rate Reduced.This gives people a pension that they can trust. If this can be with fewer people, and therefore less cost, by higher automation this is good.
There remains enough work to be left in other problem areas that are still unexplored.
As soon as work can be done better or as well by a machine, the work itself becomes meaningless.Technique ensures that more can be produced with fewer people. The production is growing, and the free time is growing. If the government were to do anything, it would be better to divide the free time.
According to David Graeber, everyone would only have to work 15 hours a week to maintain the current production of goods and services.The hours that are more worked are no longer really productive but more occupational therapy. (Think of the pointless projects in many organizations, the uplifting of useless management layers and the many pointless meetings)