In recent years we have seen many digital transformations of other industries and specifically the financial services sector with online banking becoming the norm. This has resulted in members of retirement funds now expecting to have similar access to their retirement information in an engaging, easy to understand format. With 95% of people employed in South Africa retiring on less than 40% of their final salary, this new trend may well be the breakthrough the retirement industry need to get members engaged with their retirement planning from an early age.
In 2017, we switched the Sanlam Umbrella Fund members to the much improved member online portal, with the option to also download the free mobile app. Information on the online portal and mobile app is aligned which means that members have the same experience regardless of which digital medium they choose.
Even though we have had some success, this project is facing a number of challenges that are hampering its successful roll-out.
- It appears that most members are not yet aware of this service available to them. A very small number of members (approx. 5%) have thus far registered to view their retirement information online. The fact of the matter is that these new digital facilities provide essential information that will ultimately empower members to make informed decisions regarding their retirement planning. We simply must persuade more member to act.
- The personal contact details for many members are not on record with the Administrator. As a result, the Fund is not able to make contact with these members to make them aware of the new digital facilities available to them. For security reasons, members whose personal contact details are not on record with the Administrator, will also find it difficult to register.
The FSB now requires that all retirement funds obtain and maintain the personal contact details of each and every member of the Fund. The new policyholder protection rules, issued in terms of the Long-term Insurance Act, lay down even stricter measures for insurers of approved and unapproved group life policies with effect from December 2019. In less than two years, insurers will not be allowed to insure the life of a retirement fund member that they do not have the personal contact details of.
Although the Sanlam Umbrella Fund and the Administrator have run a number of projects where employers were requested to assist with the gathering of member contact details in the last year, we are not making the kind of progress required by the regulator.
While we will continue to engage and work with Participating Employers to obtain member contact details, the trustees resolved to implement the following special measures in order to fast track this process.
Obtaining members cellular numbers
In those cases where we were not able to obtain members’ cell phone numbers directly from their employers, the trustees have requested a data search service provider to find the cell phone numbers for the members whose numbers are not on record yet.
These numbers will be used to communicate with members and encourage them to register for online view of their retirement fund information.
Member campaigns in March and April 2018
The Administrator, supported by the Communication committee, will run a number of campaigns via SMS, e-mail and telephone to encourage member registration for the online portal and mobile app.
Assurance: Protection of personal information
The Fund has adopted a code of conduct to ensure the protection of personal information as well as the protection of member privacy when it comes to electronic communications. The personal contact details of members will only be used by the Fund to communicate essential fund member services. It will not be made available to any other service provider for the purpose of marketing their services or products. This means we will not flood members with irrelevant SMS’s and communication.
Contracted Benefit Consultants are requested to make their clients aware of this campaign and assist them with providing and maintaining members’ personal contact details.
You may view a demo version of the member app (keep in mind that the same information appears on the online portal):
Android version: Demo Sanlam My Retirement
IOS version: Demo Sanlam My Retirement