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Barnett Waddingham
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Analytics and technology: driving our holistic approach to wellbeing

Published by Damian Stancombe on

It’s fair to say that 2014 saw the beginnings of a world of new thinking around the separate issues of debt, savings and pensions.

We were conscious that the landscape was changing rapidly from one where these were very much ‘separate silos’, to the idea of a holistic whole – a more all-encompassing approach. It was pretty radical thinking at that stage! This new concept combining health and wealth together into a virtuous circle covering all of the pertinent aspects actually resulted in the complete rebranding of the original Barnett Waddingham employee benefits team and created the Workplace Health and Wealth team that we are part of today. It was a bold move at the time, and has since been widely followed by others in the industry.

Smart with analytics

Of course, this approach means that we are driven by analytics. Without data and analytics you can’t know what the cause of the risk or problems are - or indeed what the costs to rectify or perhaps live with them might be. It’s very much about corporates being smart with knowing where the problems are initially and then looking to build the right solutions to deal with the issues efficiently. We encourage businesses to embrace technology which combined with expert consultancy, helps with the implementation and delivery of a viable solution.

Consultancy expertise

Our consultancy team puts us in a very strong position as a firm - I’d say we have the perfect blend of big data and analytical skills. They are at the heart of our offering, with a wealth of experience and expertise. They work with the analytics using their 'softer' skill sets to create the right solutions. I cannot stress enough if as consultants we cannot add value or protect you from risks we are simply a pointless cost.

You will be hearing more from the team over the coming weeks in a series of blog posts.

Bespoke technology

As for the use of technology, we are at the forefront of developing bespoke tools to promote engagement. You could say we are starting to focus on the concept of human capital and empowering the employer to understand and really get to know their workforce – Me2®, our client engagement tool, is the perfect portal to encourage active engagement as it well help members assess their own needs, educate them on their options and allow flexibility of choice.

I don’t have a crystal ball but I think a scenario could be for Me2® to become an aggregator, an everyday tool for financial planning.

You might ask if this makes Me2® a product? To which I categorically say no. We are fiercely independent. We have all of the elements at our fingertips to build our own master trust but we choose not to. The reason for this? Because if we are selling a product we aren’t dealing with the root issues that trustees and employers are facing. We are trying to shoehorn our product in and that conflicts us surely.

What does the future hold?

I have a vision for how far we can take a tool like Me2® into the future – and how far-reaching that impact can be on the everyday lives of employers and employees. Over the next couple of years simply to see it bedded into the corporate psyche. I hope companies will be proud to offer it to their employees and in turn the employee truly appreciate the help their employers are giving them.

Everyday financial planning

Longer term, well I don’t have a crystal ball but I think a scenario could be for Me2® to become an aggregator, an everyday tool for financial planning. So not just something that you’d access once a year but a tool for possibly everyday use that would include budget calculators and help people to understand and prioritise their overall health and wealth. 

In the future Me2® might not just be used by individuals, but entire families to give an overall picture of the member and their dependants’ financial outlook – where they are now and where they could be in the future. 

If you start thinking about robo advice, planning for the future using these tools is a possibility but gosh - that is a long, long way off or indeed a indeed a simple non-starter who knows.

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Me2® is our online member engagement portal promoting education and key messages to employees as well as facilitating choice across our six pillars of employee wellbeing

About the author

  • Damian Stancombe

    Damian heads up the Workplace Health and Wealth team for Barnett Waddingham. Damian advises a range of UK corporate and trustee clients on their workplace health and wealth issues; from scheme design through to ongoing governance for all defined contribution arrangements.

    View Biography

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