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New Demands Require New Approaches for Recordkeepers

By Bill Byerly, Senior Vice President, SunGard's wealth & retirement administration business.


Retirement administrators today face challenges from both their front-office and back-office operations. They must respond to new demands of servicing their participants, resulting from emerging market and demographic trends as well as regulatory changes. Success depends on their ability to maintain a laser focus on improving their core business operations while reducing costs.

Retirement operations are growing increasingly complex. With 7,000 Americans turning 65 each day, retirement administrators' workloads for handling disbursements are expanding rapidly. Providers must hire and train more people -- not to mention manage turnover, rehiring and retraining -- for tasks that often offer little competitive differentiation. Meeting new fiduciary standards for the nation's key retirement programs requires providers to establish, document and follow more prudent investment policies, document compliance, and ensure the proper fiduciary training to employees and advisors. Providers must also keep up with rapidly evolving financial industry regulations. New disclosure requirements mean retirement administrators must better educate customers about the value they receive for the fees they pay.

Retirement administrators must shift their focus to strategic growth opportunities. A responsive inside sales desk is necessary to provide an exceptional client experience and build strong relationships with distribution channels. Providers need to offer the investment products participants and sponsors demand -- from target-date funds to guaranteed income vehicles. Plan sizes are shifting with assets in small and micro plans growing more quickly than those in mega plans. Larger providers are looking to grow globally by moving into new high-growth geographic markets such as Latin America, Asia and the Middle East. And with fewer than one-half of U.S. workers preparing for retirement , providers are placing a high priority on educating clients and helping them with retirement planning.

As organizations serve new generations of plan participants, they find it necessary to communicate with them using new channels. These channels include webinars, podcasts, text messages, social media such as Facebook and Twitter, websites, and mobile applications that work with devices ranging from smart phones to tablets. Keeping up with the technology necessary to manage so many different platforms can be cost prohibitive. By leveraging managed services for retirement recordkeeping operations, such as business processing outsourcing (BPO), recordkeepers can scale with agility to accommodate growth and achieve balance.

William (Bill) Byerly is SunGard's senior vice president for SunGard's Omni and managed services operations for SunGard's wealth & retirement administration's business. With more than 30 years of experience, Bill has built scalable, comprehensive, and highly productive service delivery teams and platforms, including ten years of experience in off-shore and near-shore operations involving off-shoring work to India and within the U.S. as well as direct oversight of the off-shore resources.


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