Financial services are an increasingly popular sector to work in, with the possibility of progressing your career with qualifications much more accessible than in some other sectors.
The change in the demographics of the population in the UK mean that the number of retired folk and those in receipt of a pensions is constantly on the up, leading to a rising demand for pensions.
However, retirement benefits are a particularly complex area of financial services and it takes specialist knowledge to be able to competently deal with this type of work.
This article examines the role of a Pension’s Administrator and what their key responsibilities are likely to be.
The Voice of Reason
Pensions Administrators are the human voice at the end of the phone which customers rely on to help them wade through the mountains of red tape and regulations which surround pensions.
As such a vital part of financial planning, pensions arguably receive more attention from HMRC and the government than any other area of private insurance and benefits, and the rules around them are far more stringent.
Individuals often find the paperwork confusing and the rules difficult to understand and need a helping hand to comprehend what their options are.
There are a huge number of different types of pensions available, from occupational schemes through to the newly created SIPPs and the general public, as a rule, find it difficult to understand what rules apply to each.
Whether it’s a query about contributions, or taxation on annuity payments, the Pension’s Administrator is the individual responsible for helping to put the complex rules and regulations into more understandable language.
Because of the wide range of subjects a Pension’s Administrator has to cover, the job demands the ability to understand, absorb and explain complex and technical information.
Pension regulations are a complicated area and the individual must have the ability to sift through the fine print. Ensuring all procedures are compliant and do not break regulations is also an important part of the job. Ad-hoc requests may be received from customers and financial advisers, and being able to make a judgement about what is permissible and what would constitute a breach is essential. Any company found to be administering pensions in a way which does not comply with the regulations could face a stiff penalty.
Pensions are also an area which is subject to regular changes as the government and HMRC seeks to improve the rules which govern retirement benefits in the UK. Pension administrators have to be able to keep up to date with any changes and ensure they understand how they need to be applied in practice.
The financial services industry recognises that expertise and knowledge is critical for Pension’s Administrators and there are a number of qualifications that many employers will sponsor to enhance the skills of their staff.
Variety is the Spice of Life
Different companies set up their pension departments in varying ways so Pension’s Administrators could have a different role depending on who they work for.
Some firms opt to hand a caseload to individuals and they handle all enquiries relating to the pension. Other pension administrators may specialise in certain areas such as contributions, changes or payments.
Whichever way the role is set up, a Pension’s Administrator can expect to handle a wide variety of work. This could either be a lot of varying types of requests from their own caseload or dealing with different customers, financial advisers and employers regarding their area of speciality.
A confident communicator, both on the phone and in writing, a Pension’s Administrator must have an unparalleled attention to detail and high level of accuracy as even simple errors could create awkward problems.
Being a Pension’s Administrator means blending superb customer service skills with the ability to interpret and communicate technical and often, complex, information. The potential for financial career progression is excellent and as an area of financial services which is rapidly expanding, the number of opportunities in the field is likely to continue to increase in the coming years.