June’s ‘Site of the Month’ is more than a website – it is a digital platform developed by Forsyth Barr and SilverStripe that changes the way New Zealanders interact with KiwiSaver: Summer KiwiSaver scheme.
Connecting more deeply with KiwiSaver
Forsyth Barr is an integral part of New Zealand’s financial sector with an 80 year history, over $5 billion of portfolio funds under advice and management and 20 offices around the country. Trish Oakley, Head of Summer for Forsyth Barr, says the company realised consumer attitudes were maturing when it came to KiwiSaver, a voluntary long-term savings scheme supported by the New Zealand government and executed by an approved range of providers like Forsyth Barr. Expectations around how retirement savings are managed are rising, and Forsyth Barr decided to respond with a new KiwiSaver product called ‘Summer’.
The company has partnered with respected financial commentator Martin Hawes, whose book about saving for retirement, Twenty Good Summers, is the inspiration for the product’s name. Involving Mr Hawes was about the company’s commitment to financial literacy as part of the KiwiSaver journey, says Trish.
Technology was also a key driver of the Summer KiwiSaver scheme, says Trish, with a particular desire to adopt a ‘mobile-first’ approach. “We wanted to make it easy for people to connect with their money and make decisions, technology is an enabler of that.”
Choosing broad capability
Forsyth Barr selected SilverStripe as the best qualified vendor to help them deliver on their vision for Summer, says Trish. “We felt SilverStripe’s experience working with financial firms along with government contracts was an endorsement of their capability, credibility and process.”
SilverStripe’s financial market experience proved invaluable given the need to facilitate the flow of data between Forsyth Barr and Trustees Executors Limited – an independent organisation that manages the Summer KiwiSaver scheme’s registry. The Summer digital platform needed to carry information between the two entities in a prescribed manner.
Other integrations helped enhance the user experience, with a connection to the GB Group electronic verification of identity engine making it easier for people to apply, and integration with the Saber document repository enabling scheme members to safely access their secure documents online.
Agile crucial to success
Although Forsyth Barr started with a clear idea of what they wanted out of the digital platform, they valued the agile, iterative process of working with SilverStripe on the project. Forsyth Barr formed a very good working relationship with SilverStripe, where there was strong discussion around requirements and in which SilverStripe offered best practice insight. An agile approach meant the Forsyth Barr team developed a deep understanding of the platform through the process, putting them in a very good position to drive ongoing development.
KiwiSaver members enjoy summer
After a nine-month development process, the Summer KiwiSaver scheme's website went live in support of the product launch, hosted on Amazon Web Services and managed through SilverStripe Platform. After working with Forsyth Barr’s brand agency to develop the website’s design, SilverStripe built the entire platform and now manages its hosting.
Forsyth Barr supported it with an advertising campaign, and continues to generate demand from activities like a seminar series featuring Martin Hawes. The product is also promoted through the company’s adviser network.
It’s been successful for us from a lead generation point of view, but importantly for us it has been a success from a member experience perspective. We wanted people to feel engaged with their KiwiSaver and empowered to take charge of their account. The data shows a big tick in that box – Trish Oakley, Head of Summer for Forsyth Barr.
As well as good member engagement, a reflection of the website’s effectiveness has been the positive feedback from Forsyth Barr’s 114 strong adviser network around New Zealand. “It is really important that they trust the product. They want to be confident that the website experience is positive for their clients, the feedback has been really positive. They would be the first to tell us if it wasn’t – so that’s a great outcome.”
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