Towers Watson has partnered with an industry specialist to bring a new force to fund administration: an alternative system for ‘hybrid’ industry, corporate and public sector funds.
Andrew Boal (pictured) , Towers Watson’s managing director, said that defined benefit funds with long “run-off periods” of up to 40 years would be particularly interested in the new service the consultant was providing with Link Group, as would hybrid funds, which simultaneously handled the complexities of defined benefit and defined contribution structures.
Phillip Muhlbauer , Link Super’s CEO, said the company’s web platform, aaspireWeb, was used by more than 60,000 employers contributing $180 million per month to 27 funds with more than 4 million members – and that aaspire itself had the capacity to serve double that number.
This partnership with Towers Watson followed the transition of all of Australian Administration Services’ clients onto the aaspire platform.
Boal said the open architecture of aaspire would allow an easy introduction of MySuper, and this flexibility would also position the funds for growth.
The Towers Watson-Link marriage has had an interesting history. Previously, IBM had serviced both Towers Watson and rival consultant Russell. With Russell’s return to running administration in-house, Towers Watson began to look for a provider which had a commitment to an external business, Boal said.
Enter the Link Group, and a gradual migrating of Towers Watson’s clients off the WyBen platform – itself a legacy of the Watson Wyatt days – and onto Link’s aaspire architecture.
Link’s aaspire model is a “capacity on demand” model delivered by leveraging both storage and server virtualisation, Muhlbauer said. Fujitsu Australia provided a long-term Managed Services Agreement (MSA) covering physical infrastructure, networks and a helpdesk for desktops. The core IT infrastructure was fully replicated at a second Fujitsu data centre.
The main language used is Java to ensure that aaspire can be hosted across Windows, Linux and Solaris. The database platform is Oracle 11g, which runs on hardware from IBM, Oracle, HP, Dell and many operating systems.
XML and XSLT were used for inbound/outbound files, and WSDL and SOAP for web services.