It is said that the only constant is change or better put, the only certainty is uncertainty and at Axis Pension Trust, it is our pledge and duty to prepare our clients for the certainty of retirement and all the uncertainties associated with it.
The year 2020 was one like no other; anticipation of increased prosperity across the board was high, following a strong business year in 2019. However, the pandemic struck thus altering short to long term plans. At Axis Pension Trust, we were able to, not only survive, but excel in what was a very trying year. The recipe for our success was rooted in our expansive planning and robust continuity mechanisms.
Key to our growth and sustainability was the aggressive digitisation campaign we embarked on consistently over the better part of the last decade. This made the transition to more remote operations quite seamless.
We were thus able to adequately protect our most vital assets – our human resources – from undue exposure to the virus, as we were one of the first corporate entities in the country to transition to remote work. The pandemic-induced restrictions aided the rollout of additional digital channels to compliment the efforts of our existing platforms to great benefit for the company and more importantly, our customers.
Prior to the advent of the pandemic, we recorded on the average less than 10,000 customers accessing our mobile app but over the course of the last year, particularly in the third and fourth quarters, we saw that rising to upwards of 20,000 customers.
The story is no different with our online portal which has seen an almost 200% rise in usage. Additionally, we launched the very aptly named, Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered chatbot, Afrakomah, on Telegram and WhatsApp which, is another first in the pensions industry.
Perhaps, most importantly for us was the launch of our Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) platform – the first dedicated USSD platform for a pension scheme in the country. By dialing *1860#, customers are able to access everything from advisory services to account balance statements on any type of phone; smartphone or feature phone.
This is very dear to our hearts and speaks to the direction we are heading in, as it provides end-to-end access to our services for the largely financially excluded, who form the bulk of the informal sector. Our dedicated call service centers are now open from 7am to 9pm, ensuring customers can get tailored responses for 14 hours a day.
All of these have resulted in improved levels of customer satisfaction as they have less complaints and are better informed customers. Numbers accessing digital platforms have risen sharply and we are very happy about it.
As a result, despite the adverse effects of COVID-19 on the wider economy, our core business was not affected, and as matter of fact, we were able to improve turnover time, leaving us with the best type of clients – satisfied ones.
Delivering value through pension innovation
To ensure that we are helping our clients achieve financial peace of mind, Axis Pension Trust, in partnership with Hollard Ghana, is offering Free embedded Life Insurance for all Master Trust and Personal Pension Clients. This innovation is an industry first and a product of a Customer Engagement Survey held to gather feedback from our cherished clients on their desired range of services.
The Free Pension-Linked Life Insurance Package gives clients a free death as well as total and permanent disability cover of Five Thousand Ghana Cedis – GHS 5,000 (Terms and Conditions apply). This is in addition to their existing pension benefits with Axis. This offer gives clients a viable pathway to protect their loved ones and ensure that they can sustain their standard of living.
Axis Pension Trust is miles ahead in innovation. We continue to invest in delivering many more firsts to ensure our clients live a dignified life in retirement.
Our primary goal for 2021 at Axis Pension Trust is to fully roll-out our informal sector pension scheme. The informal sector represents the largest section of the economy and yet, it is the least financially-included in everything from capital market engagements to insurance coverage and especially pension contributions.
Our investments, for the better part of the last decade, have centered around reaching the informal sector and this will set the tone for our engagements over the next five years, whilst steadily catering to our existing clients. Our strategy is not borne out of wishful thinking but from a pilot programme conducted last year to great success.
Of 1,200 engagements, approximately 50% signed onto our test scheme. This did not come about by random happenstance but was the result of painstaking efforts to understand the informal sector – its peculiarities, desires and needs – over a seven-year period.
Wealth properly defined = Health
At Axis Pension Trust, we believe that retirement should be due reward for many years of labor as such, retiring with poor health defeats the purpose of our scheme. Whilst not every ailment can be prevented, we know a significant number of them are as a result of lifestyle and we are committed to helping our clients get the needed medical information to retire healthy.
This was most evident at our pre-retirement conference – the first of its kind by any pensions company in the country – where we brought seasoned health experts to guide our clients. This took on added significance as a result of the ongoing pandemic and its impact on the elderly.
For us, we believe that the Ghanaian worker retiring in 10 years should be better off than the one who retired 10 years ago and this is not just about the value of money (which is very important) but by having access to a wealth of information to make better decisions. Lessons learnt from the sudden entry of COVID-19 will prove invaluable for us in 2021 as we have alternate strategies to deal with any eventuality.