The Netherlands’ largest pension administrator, APG, has acquired a 40% interest in Prikkl, a firm that advises employees on their financial situation. APG wants to use Prikkl to advise members of its pension fund clients on choices they have to make in the new defined contribution (DC)-based pension system which will come into force by 2026.
The move comes just weeks after APG’s CEO Gerard van Olphen said he wanted pension funds to take on a “coaching role” for their members under the new pension system, something he believes funds are not yet prepared for.
Prikkl, which was founded in 2017, should fill this void for APG. The company, which employs 10 people, has already completed assignments for APG and its main client, civil service scheme ABP. Among other things, it has helped employees of APG to get a better grip of their financial situation.
Prikkl said on its website that its main ambition is “to make employees financially fit and pension proof”. The company combines software applications and physical meetings with the use of external certified financial planners to advise clients.
“This makes our approach easily scalable,” said co-founder Paulien van Gurp. “If needed we can employ a few hundred financial advisers at a time. They give advice, but don’t recommend specific products.”
Tom Romanowski, APG’s director of innovation, said the acquisition of Prikkl fits with the firm’s goal of making the members of APG’s pension fund clients “financially fit in an accessible and affordable way.”
He added: “Taking care of your finances, like your pension, is not the favourite pastime of many people. An activating approach is therefore important.”
The price of such financial advice comes at approximately €250 per employee. It starts with an initial short questionnaire, containing questions on whether members think they are financially fit.
The financial adviser will then compare this with the actual finances of the employee, which is followed by a one-hour conversation with the adviser. Afterwards, the client will receive a summary report.
Many employees have responded to the exercise by saying they would have done this “much earlier,” said Van Gurp.