Closing the Gap with Innovation

Haymans Fung, Chief Marketing and Digital Officer, Sun Life Hong Kong

Haymans Fung, Chief Marketing and Digital Officer, Sun Life Hong Kong

“Technology can help close the “retirement gap”, empowering the individual and enabling smarter decisions on their retirement planning journey.”

Across the globe, many governments are scrambling for solutions to address the trend of a rapidly aging population. This irreversible demographic change is widening the “retirement gap”, inevitably shifting the burden to secure a comfortable and sustainable retirement back on the individual, who are often disadvantaged by another “knowledge gap”, one that handicaps their ability to make the best decisions to achieve retirement security. At Sun Life Hong Kong, we are determined to close both the “retirement gap” and “knowledge gap” with digital innovation.

The high life expectancy in Hong Kong, combined with a high cost of living calls for early and diligent retirement planning for pre-retirees in the city. When it comes to retirement planning, every action or inaction will have long-lasting effects. It is an arduous and long-term commitment where every advantage matters. However, we believe that the retirement planning journey has long suffered from ambivalence and an information deficit, with the process traditionally relying on basic retirement calculators that only provide a vague nominal estimate and sluggish progress updates through annual statements. 

Modern problems require modern solutions. As an insurer with more than 128 years of history in Hong Kong, Sun Life Hong Kong strives to be at the forefront of leading innovative efforts with the objective of closing both the “knowledge” and “retirement” gap. 

Our new and integrated digital tools, scheduled for launch in November 2020, are going to enable a seamless client experience that spans across the entire retirement planning journey, tackling some of the problems typical in the wealth management industry. These digital-driven initiatives will help raise awareness, prompt action, and evaluate outcomes, all essential to closing the knowledge gap that is deeply embedded in the retirement gap.

Through our digital tools and platforms, we aim to help clients and prospects identify and understand their retirement savings gap through a comprehensive assessment of their financial status and progress on their retirement journey. By simulating projected savings, shortfall, and considering the expectation of lifestyles and scenarios, financial advisors can visualize illustrations and provide instant proposals to clients based on their input. To the individual, this enlightening process is crucial to diagnosing obstacles and potential shortcomings at any point in time along the retirement planning journey, and to pinpoint the corresponding solutions that are most appropriate.

Retirement planning is fundamentally a tale of empowerment, and the ones best prepared will always reap the benefits they sow. We believe that our clients and prospects will be better equipped with the intelligence needed to make smarter financial decisions. With a clear roadmap detailing the objective, process, and outcome, individuals are more motivated to take practical steps to secure their ideal retirement life and stay committed to meeting their respective life goals.

We believe these newly developed tools will revolutionize retirement planning into a highly personalized process, enabling individuals to track their progress in closing the “retirement gap” on-demand and to make timely adjustments when personal circumstances change, or unexpected events occur. On the long and uncertain road towards retirement, innovation has put individuals in the driver seat, with a holistic view of their circumstances and options available to close their retirement gap.

We also believe that these developments are a breakthrough in wealth management. The digital revolution has fundamentally enhanced the client experience to one that is user-centric, streamlined, and instantaneous, inspiring brand-new experiences that build trust and confidence throughout the client journey. 

While technology has been gradually integrated into every stage of the client journey, it remains complementary to Sun Life Hong Kong’s foundations and existing infrastructure. The human element, marked by imagination, compassion, and empathy, will always be irreplaceable. Technology improves efficiency across the board and facilitates our professional advisors in providing superior service that completes the contemporary client experience.

Technology can help close the “retirement gap”, empowering the individual and enabling smarter decisions on their retirement planning journey. As digitalization becomes a strategic priority, we will devote HKD1 billion towards digitalization over the next five years. Sun Life Hong Kong will continue to explore and experiment with ways to leverage technology that ultimately benefits the client in their pursuit of a healthy life.

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