Posted tagged ‘Xafinity’

A Look at Automatic Enrollment in the U.S. to Predict the Success in the U.K. and Potential Opportunities for HRO Service Providers

December 8, 2011

There is currently a global crisis of people failing to save enough funds for their retirement. This reality is faced by those nearing retirement, and it’s affecting millions more. Reasons for this range from a lack of an employer plan to it being too confusing to simply just not getting around to it. In an effort to manage the crisis, legislation has been enacted to facilitate the ease of saving.

 

In the U.K., the primary answer lies in the automatic enrollment (AE) requirement of the Pensions Act of 2008. The AE requirement compels employers to automatically enroll their employees into qualifying pension schemes and to contribute to the pension as well. AE will commence in October 2012 and will be rolled out in stages based on employer size until September 2016 with large organizations (i.e., those with more than 120,000 employees) starting first.

 

Trying to predict the success that AE will have in the U.K. is difficult, but perhaps the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA) in the U.S. can provide some guidance.

 

Recently, Fidelity highlighted the positive impact that the PPA has had on participation rates among other things. Fidelity’s plans that offer AE have increased to 21%, up from 2% in 2006. Furthermore, the AE feature is a part of 63% of plans with more than 50,000 participants, and Fidelity has seen participation increasing as a result of AE.

 

The average participation rate for plans without AE is 55%; but with AE, the participation rate is 82%. More interesting is the effect that AE is having on younger employees, who are typically not too concerned with saving for retirement. For employees between ages 20 and 24 years old, the participation rate for plans with AE is 76% and only 20% for plans without AE.

 

While the PPA in the U.S. does not require AE by all employers, it is proving to be an effective way to encourage participation to actively save for retirement, and it can also provide further opportunities for HRO service providers.

 

In the U.K., for example, Capita has already won business related to the AE requirement of the Pensions Act of 2008. It was awarded a 7 year £105m contract by the U.K. Pension Regulator to support direct communications and transactional processes with employers for AE that began in October 2011. Capita’s responsibilities include:

  • Communicating campaign messages to employers
  • Communicating AE duty dates to employers
  • Ensuring employers register with the regulator
  • Operating a customer contact center
  • Some enforcement activities such as administering compliance notices and penalties for non-compliance.

 

Shortly after Capita’s contract award, Xafinity became the first pension administration provider to launch an AE offering that:

  • Identifies who to automatically enroll and when to enroll them
  • Sets a course of action for all stakeholders
  • Runs financial analysis on different scenarios and take-up rates based on employee data, and selects a strategy that supports corporate objectives
  • Provides AE administrative services including member communications; employee identification; auto-enrolling, opting out, and re-enrolling employees; and reporting.

 

Expect to see more HRO service providers based in the U.K. and others doing business there to launch an AE offering. Some may be late to the game though since the first staging date is less than a year away and compliance can take ~18 months to achieve. It is an area with lots of potential and service providers like Capita and Xafinity are well-poised to gain the first-mover advantage.

 

Amy L. Gurchensky, Research Analyst, HRO, NelsonHall

 

Interested in reading the latest HRO news from NelsonHall? Subscribe to our newsletter by emailing amy.gurchensky@nelson-hall.com with “HRO Insight” as the subject.

 

Learning Services Acquisition Frenzy

March 17, 2011

Last year, we wrote quite a bit about all of the M&A activity in benefits administration including:

  • Towers Perrin and Watson Wyatt completing its merger to become Towers Watson
  • ACS, a Xerox Company acquiring ExcellerateHRO
  • ADP acquiring Workscape
  • Aon acquiring Hewitt to become Aon Hewitt
  • Other acquisitions made by vendors including Mercer, Xafinity, and Capita.

Will learning be the next HR service area abundant in acquisitions?  Although we have seen learning services acquisitions in the past, including ACS acquiring Intellinex in 2006, and will likely continue to see more in the future, I don’t believe we will see any in learning that are equivalent in scale to the large benefits acquisitions.  However, if there was an award for the number of acquisitions in a short period of time, it would have to go to General Physics Corporation (GP). On March 10th, GP acquired RWD Technologies for $28m, its 8th acquisition in the past 18 months.  RWD is based in the U.S. near GP in Baltimore and has three additional U.S. locations as well as offices in the U.K. and Colombia.

GP got RWD at a bargain since RWD’s consulting revenues were $65m in 2010.  RWD was hit hard by the recession and GP came along at the right time with cash on hand.  As a result of the acquisition, GP inherits RWD’s IT learning expertise, where it had little prior experience.  The acquisition also strengthens GP in the petroleum, manufacturing, and automotive sectors.

Last month, GP acquired Communication Consulting to expand delivery of its training services in China.  GP’s other acquisitions were made in the U.S. and U.K. between September 2009 and December 2010.

GP’s 2010 revenues were $259.9m, an increase of 18.6% compared to 2009.  Growth was attributed to increased volumes from existing clients, new contract awards, and its acquisitions, which had the greatest impact.

Moving forward, what will happen?  Well for one thing, don’t count GP out from making future acquisitions.  GP still has ~$35m in revolving credit after the RWD deal and has stated that they will continue to seek acquisitions to grow globally.  However, with so many acquisitions, GP now faces the challenge of creating an integrated client experience and cross-selling into the strengths of these acquired companies to continue its rapid pace of growth.

It will be interesting to watch as things unfold this year.  In the meantime, we can finally put to rest the question “what’s happening with RWD”.

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall

Q4 2010 HRO Ends on an Up Note

January 5, 2011

While we wait to see 2010’s full year HRO financial results, we can review activities in the fourth quarter.  HRO growth is occurring across most industry segments, with the public sector lagging.  The fastest growth rates are still outside of the mature economies in North America, U.K., and Europe for the global providers, although the U.S. is starting to rebound.

Benefits administration showed a nice level of new business activity, even in the mature areas.  Congratulations to Fidelity for the competitive wins of AT&T for both defined contributions and defined benefits and Office Depot for broad benefits administration services.  There were also notable benefits wins by Mercer, Aon Hewitt, Ceridian and Xafinity.  Meanwhile, we are still waiting for a major jump start in learning and multi-process HRO contracts.

The volume of new business and growth with existing clients will continue to rise in 2011, but the pricing environment will not likely ease much in 2011 as buyers remain price sensitive.  Maintaining efficiency will be critical in order to win with both clients and investors.  For example, The Right Thing recently introduced dedicated Solution Teams to manage the transition from sales and implementation into operations. Managing implementation was a costly problem for service providers and customers in multi-process HRO for years, so it is good to see the lessons learned extending to other areas of HRO.

Preparing for further growth also continues in partnerships, mergers, and acquisitions.  Aon Hewitt is expanding its benefits capabilities in Scotland via a pension services partnership with Babcock International Group.  Towers Watson is jumping back into the benefits fray with a partnership with Wage Works and the acquisition of Aliquant, a mid-range benefits service provider.

Fourth quarter good news stories continued with revenues up in most areas of HRO.  Several HR service providers reported a 4% to 6% increase in revenues including ADP Employer Services up 6%, Aon Consulting up 4%, and Mercer up 6%. RPO and staffing companies continued recovering at a rapid pace, leading the way out of the downturn just as they led the way into it.  Revenues for Manpower were up 19% and The Right Thing’s revenues were up 30%.  GP Strategies, Kelly, and Kenexa all had increased revenues in the mid-20% range.

Operating margins are remaining consistent as the HRO industry adds back employees indicating they will be able to manage growth while keeping an eye on hard-won profitability.  Investments in technology and global service delivery capabilities will now be bearing fruit and should also support margin growth.

Happy New Year – may 2011 be a great year for us all in the HRO community in every way!

Linda Merritt, Research Director, HRO, NelsonHall

HRO is Never Static or Still

October 12, 2010

During every stage of the economic lifecycle, HRO service providers are doing something to either anticipate or react to changes in the marketplace and client needs while simultaneously striving to achieve strategic goals. This week I wrap-up NelsonHall’s review of 3Q 2010 HRO activity with a look at what’s new in offerings, partnerships and acquisitions.

One way to quickly expand a service line or fill-in gaps is to partner with a provider that is already offering the service or operating in the target geography. Last quarter was most active for RPO. Those announcing new RPO-related partnerships included Alexander Mann Solutions (AMS), Kelly Services, Kenexa, Pinstripe and The RightThing. Notably, two of the partnerships were to continue to expand RPO services internationally in the Asia Pacific region, with AMS adding reach into India and Kelly in Vietnam.

A more committed path to rounding out or adding new services is to buy it. Making small to large acquisitions is another constant in the world of HRO as players define and redefine their portfolios. In addition to the close of the three game changing major acquisitions in the benefits community (ADP/Workscape, ACS/ExcellerateHRO, and Aon/Hewitt), other folks were also making deals. For example, Mercer acquired IPA and ORC, and Xafinity bought PwC’s pension consulting and administration business in the U.K. Further, Randstad continued its acquisitive ways, this time outside of Europe, with its planned acquisition of FujiStaff in Japan.

Health and welfare (H&W) outsourcing used to be limited to the U.S., and that will remain the major market. But no matter how health insurance and care is funded, H&W concerns are growing globally. In the U.S., Fidelity is partnering with RedBrick Health to offer its clients wellness services, and in the U.K., Capita is acquiring FirstAssist Services to add to its health service offerings.

Finally, if you cannot find what you want in the marketplace, you can build or expand it yourself. Ceridian wants to truly offer a new line of BPO services and has announced it is ready to consult, build and manage the health insurance exchanges that some states will need in a couple of years as part of the U.S. health care reform program. 

Most announcements of “new offerings” are incremental additions. For example, Hewitt is adding Micromedex medical reference information to its advocacy service offering. You can also simply package what you have and call it new. Aditro has done that with a standardized set of payroll services that include preset services levels and implementation process to make a lower cost bundled option.

Yet another variation blends supply chain partnerships with building it yourself to make a new service offering. Take a SaaS HR service from Oracle or Sap and wrap in value added enhancements and services additions and, voila, you have a new HRO service platform. Mercer introduced its Human Capital Direct that uses PeopleClick Authoria’s talent management suite as the core, surrounded by Mercer’s consulting, tools and methodologies such as decision support, competency models and analytics.

In HRO, somebody is always doing something. What have you done lately?

Linda Merritt, Research Director, HRO, NelsonHall

Benefits Administration – Not a Lame Duck HRO Process

August 5, 2010

Although we’ve indicated that our most recent HR Outsourcing Confidence Index found benefits administration lagging behind other HR services in terms of revenue and pipeline growth, it’s important to put that into proper context:

• On the NelsonHall HRO Confidence Index scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being “strong increase” and 3 being “unchanged,” benefits admin came in at 3.6 relative HRO growth, right behind learning (3.7), and multi-process and payroll (both at 3.8)

• Benefits admin outsourcing contracts are indeed being won in 2010

For example, Mercer announced today that it added 10 new benefits admin clients – a mix of defined contribution, health and benefits, and total benefits/total retirement outsourcing – to its portfolio in 1H10. The new deals include leading brands such as CBS Corporation, Primerica and Global Equity Capital, LLC. In total per these new agreements, Mercer is now servicing nearly 190,000 additional benefits admin participants.  

Additional benefits wins announced in 2010 include:

• Xafinity, for pension administration, by BAE and Loganair

• Workscape, for both its Outsourced Benefits Administration (OBA) web-based benefits administration service and for employee call center support, by Global Imaging Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of Xerox

• Workscape, for its OBA solution, by kgb, a multi-country directory assistance and information services company

• Convergys, a contract renewal for COBRA, leave of absence and annual enrollment services, by Office Depot

And benefits is not just being awarded as a standalone service. Rather, it continues to be provided along with multi-process HRO services. For example, Ceridian earlier this year was awarded a contract by Fifth Third Processing Solutions which included payroll, health and welfare administration, HR compliance, time and attendance, leave administration and learning and recruiting technology. And Hewitt and International Paper entered into a five-year contract renewal deal which covers payroll, workforce administration, health and welfare administration, recruiting support activities, SAP application support and help desk services, call center and HR manager support activities, learning administration and flex staffing management services.

As clients continue to seek reduced costs, ensure compliance with health care reform, increase employee satisfaction, better leverage technology, and improve delivery of services to employees – including self-service capabilities – I believe we will see continued growth in benefits admin outsourcing. NelsonHall is currently conducting a Benefits Administation Market Study. When it’s complete we’ll take a deeper-dive look at just how much it’s growing, and in which specific areas.

Gary Bragar, Senior HR Outsourcing Analyst, NelsonHall

NelsonHall HRO Confidence Index finds Banking, Healthcare, Pharma and Manufacturing Industries to Experience Strongest Growth

June 17, 2010

My blog last week focused on geographical HRO growth per the findings of NelsonHall’s most recent HRO Confidence Index. Today, the focus is growth by industry sector. When asked about expected changes in 2010 HRO revenues by industry sector, year-on-year relative to 2009, the HRO providers that participated in our most recent Index responded similarly to the prior quarter, with strong growth continuing to be expected in the banking (3.9 on a 1 – 5 scale), healthcare, pharmaceutical and manufacturing (all 3.8 on a 1 – 5 scale) industries.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, expectations from the state and local government sectors declined during the quarter. Addressing this drop first (always nice to end on a more upbeat note!), although a few state and local government contract renewals and new wins created some optimism in the second half of 2009, frozen decision making remains as many states struggle to pass budgets. State and local government HRO contracts are few and far between, and have an extremely long sales cycle. In today’s environment, as jobs are hard to come by and the recovery is taking longer than most of us thought or hoped, state talk of outsourcing, even without job reduction, will be hard to pass muster.

Now on to the positive. Supporting high growth in the pharmaceutical industry, RPO provider The RightThing issued a press release on June 1, 2010 stating that as hiring freezes across the U.S. begin to lift, there has been a major trend in pharmaceutical client hiring as organizations begin to rebuild their employee base. Over the last four months, The RightThing has assisted in major expansions (to the tune of 2,300 total positions) with five North American pharmaceutical companies including Boehringer Ingelheim.

And the NelsonHall contract database provides evidence of HRO’s growth in the banking and manufacturing industries. A hefty number of the most recently signed HRO contracts include Xafinity with BAE (pension administration), Kenexa with MphasiS (a 360-degree survey program), Xchanging with Insyte (multi-process HRO), Alexander Mann with Premier Foods (contingent workforce), Liberata with the U.K. Ministry of Justice (a portion of which is for payroll outsourcing), Hewitt with International Paper (multi-process HRO) and Manpower with Techcombank (RPO and staffing).

The continued growth in the banking industry is due to a number of factors. Hit exceptionally hard by the recession with downsizing in HR departments/across the board and in a current state of reorganization, banks are now trying to be more efficient and, in doing so, no longer want to assume the risk of investing in technology and HR staffs when they may be required to downsize again. And there are common roots to continued growth in the healthcare, pharma and manufacturing industries. In addition to reducing risk and becoming more efficient (obviously requisites for any private or public sector organization), it’s also about being able to quickly scale up and down. For example, if the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves a new drug to prevent or cure a life threatening disease, manufacturers will need to rapidly hire staff to meet demand. Swift hiring of large numbers of employees, which has implications for payroll, benefits and learning, is often difficult for a company to do internally. HRO providers with much more abundant resources can more quickly deploy resources to meet this new demand.

Gary Bragar, Senior HR Outsourcing Analyst, NelsonHall

HRO Confidence Continues to Pick Up (some) Steam

April 22, 2010

Results from NelsonHall’s just-released quarterly HR Outsourcing Confidence Index – which gauges the health of the HRO industry via input from a wide range of HRO service providers – indicate the higher level of confidence we began seeing in Q3 2009 has continued into Q1 2010. 27 percent of providers are much more confident in the growth of their business over the next 12 months as compared to the previous 12 months, 40 percent are slightly more confident, and 33 percent are as confident. That we didn’t see any “less confident” responses is a good sign in and of itself!

Looking at relative revenue and pipeline growth in Q4 2009 as compared to Q4 2008, in ranked order by specific HRO processes on a 1 – 5 scale (with 5 being strong increase), providers stated:

RPO:  4.6 revenue growth; 4.4 pipeline growth

Payroll: 4.0 revenue growth; 4.0 pipeline growth

Multi-Process HRO: 3.8 revenue growth; 4.0 pipeline growth

Benefits administration: 3.5 revenue growth; 3.0 pipeline growth

Learning: 2.8 revenue growth; 3.0 pipeline growth

The providers also stated average HRO revenue growth was 16 percent in Q4 2009 compared to Q4 2008, and pipeline growth was up 40 percent in the same 12 month period. All these numbers – which are consistent with what my colleague Linda and I heard at NY HR Week earlier this month – indicate the HRO industry is picking up a bit of steam after being in a figurative bed-ridden state for the past two years.

Need more evidence of an HRO industry recovery? A resurgence of contracts signed in Q1 2010 – including KellyOCG’s multi-year RPO contract with Novartis Pharma France, NorthgateArinso’s managed payroll and hosted HR software contract with Johnson Service Group, Ochre House’s RPO contract with Agilent Technologies in EMEA, Ceridian’s contract with Fifth Third Processing Solutions for payroll and HR services, and Xafinity’s contract for pension administration services with Loganair – tell part of the story. And up quarterly earnings reports – such as Manpower’s 12.5 percent revenue increase in Q1 2010 as compared to Q1 2009, and SeatonCorp’s 26 percent increase in the same 12 month period – tell us even more.

All of this shows the HRO industry is gaining momentum, and there’s a brighter prospect for HRO in the year ahead. We may not be sprinting by the end of the year, but the cast is off, the walker is gone and we may be off crutches by December 31!

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall