“I’m a DC pension product manager at TKP Pensioen, responsible for the Defined Contribution product line, or individual investment pensions. In the coming years, the number of participants in DC pensions will increase. This has a major impact on our administration and the underlying systems. The DC unit therefore plays an important role in our TKP Connect renewal programme.”
Marjanne van der Werff, a DC pension product manager at TKP Pensioen
In the case of a Defined Contribution scheme, the employer pays a predetermined premium. The defined contribution is invested in an individual investment pot. The investments are sold on the retirement date. That capital must be used to purchase a pension. To implement this, administrators charge costs that are deducted from the premium and the return.
Can you tell us something about TKP Connect?
“TKP Connect is an extensive renewal programme that includes the renewal of the DC unit. This renewal programme has been set up to meet the increasing demands made by our customers - for example, to be able to introduce new propositions. Non-functional criteria are also becoming more important - for example, scalability to meet growth and availability to give participants 24x7 insight into their investments. And efficiency is important, of course. We believe it is important that costs remain manageable - even with this increase in complexity and scale.”
How did you approach the renewal of the DC unit?
“We started by analysing the DC processes and dividing them into parts. We then looked at which parts are a commodity that you can purchase as a standard component. This showed that the investment component lends itself well to purchasing as a component.
After an extensive market survey, we arrived at Ohpen as the most suitable party in the market. Not only the functional richness was an important aspect, but also that it is based on new technology, runs in the cloud and is scalable. Then we looked very closely at where to make the cut.”
Can you give an example of such a cut?
“Let’s say Mr de Jong retires. At that time, his investment capital must be withdrawn so he can use it to purchase a pension. Our pension administration tells us that it concerns Mr de Jong, that it concerns retirement and on which specific date this must take place. Mr de Jong’s investment account is in the Ohpen platform. The platform knows which investment funds are involved and how many are involved. Ohpen generates a sale transaction to the market, which is then executed by an asset manager. The result of the transaction is then returned to us.”
Ohpen is a Dutch FinTech company that offers a core banking platform in the cloud. The platform administers private savings and investment accounts for banks, asset managers and insurance companies. The company is based in Amsterdam.
What other important parties do you use besides Ohpen?
“We have also automated the reconciliation. Because all processes are fully automated and no ‘hands’ are involved anymore, control is very important. We use software from Blackline for this.”
Blackline is an American company that develops cloud-based services to automate and control the entire financial closing process. The company is based in Los Angeles and has 11 offices worldwide.
How did you handle it?
We have selected a launching customer: Aegon Capital, a PPI. You don’t just want to realise software, you also want to realise direct business value.
For the project, it meant migrating this client’s entire administration to the new DC unit, including Ohpen. This concerned more than 300,000 investment accounts and 1.6 million transactions with current investment positions - a serious amount.
In addition to a company pension fund, industry pension fund and general pension fund, we also have a premium pension institution (PPI). This is a pension provider where an employer can place his pension scheme. This is only possible for DC schemes. A PPI administers an individual DC scheme.
The data migration to such a new unit must be done in a very controlled manner. After an extensive market survey, we chose DX to guide and execute this migration. We also looked closely to the future, where we expect more data migrations as a result of the pension agreement.
Tell us about your collaboration with DX
“It was a very integrated process. People from DX operated as part of the project. They bore responsibility as sub-project manager of the migration. In terms of content, they were on board as a consultant. They’ve come up with a sound plan. I’ve never seen something so professional. The migration strategy, the mapping rules from source to target, the controls, the pilot migrations. They’d thought of everything, nothing was left to chance.”
Cloud migration. The Ohpen platform runs in the AWS cloud. The core services of the platform are accessed via REST APIs. DX has developed an API dispatcher to load the transformed data into the Ohpen platform in the correct order and at the correct speed, in accordance with Ohpen’s functional and non-functional requirements.
How did you go live?
“With a big bang - we immediately started working with the new unit. Naturally, we had worked out a roll-back strategy, but we didn’t have to use it.
With regard to the data migration, we already had an external accountant take a look at the last trial migration. This also allowed us to confirm to our customer that the migration went correctly. This entire process was also supervised by DX.
Everything was under control - we didn’t come across any surprises. It is a reassuring feeling that the data migration is performed this way.”
What was the best moment in the project?
The first round trip was a cool moment. A round trip for us is a pension event that leads to an investment transaction that leads to a transaction on the financial markets that leads to a result and finally leads to an effect in the pension administration. It’s great that you can see it directly on the overview of that pension participant!
I’ve never seen something so professional.
What learning point can you share with other pension providers?
Don’t underestimate the role of the asset manager. The asset manager carries out the investment transactions. Ohpen delivers a cumulative order of all participants every day. However, there is no standard for presenting orders to an asset manager. This is therefore very different from payment transactions with, for example, SEPA. You have to realise the connection with the asset manager so message traffic actually functions.
What are you proud of?
TKP is the first pension administration organisation with a fully automated DC unit. The transactions for, for example, premium deposits and retirement are fully automatic. I’m very proud that we managed to do that. It is not self-evident - for example, other pension providers are very interested in how we’ve done this.
Thank you for this interview!