Ai-London Supports Thumb-Powered Pensions in Ireland

On November 5th, 2020, the Irish Times reported that ‘KBC ha[d] made pensions ‘thumb-powered’ thanks to a clever app-based solution that makes the process quick, easy and simple to manage.’ The KBC Lifestyle PRSA (Personal Retirement Savings Account) is a long-term pension plan that allows customers to save for their retirement. The engine that drives the mobile app is a customised, on-premise version of Ai-London’s PlatformONE Rapid Product Launch platform.

“It’s 100 per cent end-to-end digital.”

From the start KBC’s goal was to allow customers to take the whole policy journey from their phone, with no need to to deal with paperwork or advisors unless they wished to. Where customers have issues they don’t understand they can use an online education centre. Operationally, the intention was to have the minimum possible back-office.

“Many people don’t feel they understand pensions.”

KBC’s research found that affordability wasn’t the biggest blockage to people starting a pension policy. Instead, factors such as the time it takes, the sense that it’s very complicated or that pensions are difficult to manage, were much bigger inhibitors. So, the solution is to take advantage of the familiarity of “thumb-phone-sofa”. With their mobile, existing Bank customers can set up their pension with four thumb-taps. 

“The only decision you have to make is that you are going to set up a pension, securing your future” says KBC Ireland Branch Manager John Gethin.

“It’s all in the app.”

Everything can be done through the KBC mobile app on a customer’s smartphone.

It’s all in the app, with a dashboard that shows them what’s happening with their savings. PRSAs are required to let customers chop and change as life dictates. With KBC’s Lifestyle PRSA, all such adjustments can be done with a few thumb-taps, without paperwork. Of early adopters of the product, more than half have already made adjustments, increasing or decreasing their payments, pausing, or making one-off payments.

“A Springboard for further innovation”

The underlying architecture, built on Ai-London’s System of Record, gives KBC the ability to launch new variants  and entirely new products very quickly. KBC Ireland have already launched the Lifestyle Extra PRSA, with a unique risk profiler, designed for customers who want more investment choice in their retirement savings. This is then matched with an investment portfolio centred on the customer from the KBC Asset Management ExpertEase fund range. ‘Using the same underlying technology and System of Record, KBC Ireland have been able to take five different products from conception to commercial launch in under two years,’ Nash Singh, Ai-London’s CTO explains.

“Open, flexible technology architecture”Lifestyle PRSA is built on a customised, on-premise version of Ai-London’s PlatformONE Rapid Product Launch platform. PlatformOne is built using open APIs throughout the policy lifecycle, which means that KBC can seamlessly integrate third party mobile technology and Bank systems into their System of Record. ‘In the past, the problems of integrating innovative solutions into legacy infrastructure often proved prohibitive or delayed projects by years,’ Singh says, ‘but with open flexible platforms like PlatformONE, providers like KBC Ireland have achieved completely new levels of speed and innovation without sacrificing security or compliance.’