Millennium Raising Futures Kenya Golf Day

 Millennium Raising Futures Kenya Golf Day

September 13th, 2019

It was a sun-filled September day in Westerham when the Millennium “Raising Futures Kenya” golf day took place. The event was well supported by the payers and special guest, former World Light heavyweight Boxing Champion John Conteh, accompanied by his son James, adding sporting pedigree, physical presence and golfing prowess.

There were prizes aplenty with the European team once more emerging victorious in the Stableford overall team event. Other winners included William Hill – led by Steve Gant – who won the 4 ball Stableford prize.

The individual scratch score prize was won by Joe Jezzard of Osella Technology with a score of 75, closely followed by Colin Stansbury of Avalara with 76.

The longest drive was won by Jono Rawlings of Arthur J Gallagher, with Joe Jezzard also winning the nearest the flag prize.

Following the golf and post round dinner, a short presentation was provided by Andy King, Board of Trustees Chair at Raising Futures Kenya, who shared news from around how the funds raised at the 2018 golf event were put to good use. Tales of children helped and their subsequent journeys brought to life the tangible outcome arising from the funds previously raised. Overall the golf day raised £2,000 on the day, a sum which will be put to good use by the Raising Futures Kenya team.

Millennium Consulting CEO Phil Keet expressed his thanks to the corporate sponsors, including Avalara, Bang and Olufsen and Arbonne International as well as John Conteh and the players who took part. Phil will be visiting Kenya in 2020 to gain first-hand insight into the work being carried out on the ground by Raising Futures Kenya and will provide an update for the players taking part at the 2020 event.

If you are interested in taking part in 2020 then please refer to our events page for information. Rumour has it that the event may be taking place at the illustrious Sunningdale course….


ETL & Rules Engine Technology

ETL & Rules Engine Technology

September 2nd, 2019

With increased numbers of software applications used by today’s organisation there has been a corresponding growth in the number of “Extract, transform and load” (ETL) software companies capable of extracting data from one or more sources and transferring it to a destination system in a different format from the source system. The increased use of corporate data warehouses has driven demand for ever more powerful ETL technologies able to handle large and disparate data volumes.

Well-designed ETL systems extract data from multiple source systems, enforcing data quality and consistency standards, conforming data so separate sources can be combined and finally delivering data in a presentation-ready format so application developers can build applications and end users can make decisions.

Data extraction takes time and therefore the three phases are often performed in parallel. During the data extraction process, another transformation process takes place while processing the data already received and prepares it for loading while the data loading begins without waiting for the completion of the previous phases.

ETL systems commonly integrate data from multiple applications (systems), typically developed and supported by different vendors or hosted on separate computer hardware. The separate systems containing the original data are frequently managed and operated by different employees.

The introduction and configuration of ETL technologies can be complex. Millennium Consulting bridges the gap between software vendors and clients and help to harness the power of Rules Engines, ETL tools and Data Warehouses to store, process and make best use of corporate data.

Millennium Consulting provides Consultancy and Recruitment services relating to leading Rules Engine and ETL technologies such as Aptitude Software, Legerity, Informatica and Ab Initio. Our customers span the globe with specialist expert consultants across North America, Europe, Asia and Australasia.


How to get the best out of external consultants working on IFRS17 compliance programmes

How to get the best out of external consultants working on IFRS17 compliance programmes

March 1st, 2019

One key area of discussion at the IFRS 17 London event I attended recently concerned the challenges programme leaders face managing external consultants alongside internal IFRS 17 project teams.

Management consultants play an important role in today’s business environment and bring important much needed skills that to ensure overall programme success. The recent trend of insurers moving towards leaner business models means that when regulatory change programs such as IFRS 17 arise, internal resources can become severely stretched. When this is combined with a lack of knowledge concerning IFRS 17 one option is to seek specialist external support.

For project managers, the participation of external consultants within a team can deliver significant benefits but can also cause problems. External consultants provide valuable skills and methodologies that reduce risk, increase speed of delivery and provide innovative solutions to new problems. However, in reality their expected talents do not always meet expectations. Project managers may find consultants hard to manage and the extra cost can have a huge impact on already stretched budgets.

IFRS 17 programmes require certain steps to be taken to maximise the benefits of using external consultants.

Establish a balanced relationship

External consultants require a different management approach compared with internal consultants or full-time team members and it is important to achieve the right balance. Consultants should be carefully managed, although exerting excessive control can strain relationships and adversely affect productivity.

Permanent employees are normally aware of reporting lines and staff seniority but this is not necessarily the case with consultants. You may assume consultants regard you as the “client” and will automatically follow your instructions however in reality, being a client employee is not necessarily the same as being the client and consultants may have differing views of who the client actually is.

Who the client is will depend on multiple factors, but usually the individual responsible for engaging the consultant is considered the client. This is not however always the project manager. Regardless of this, consultants will want to meet the needs of the project manager but will probably regard them as one stakeholder amongst many. Project managers may work with team members who do not regard them as their line manager. However typically they will have skills to enable them to influence people to perform tasks that they might not necessarily have line authority for.

It is important to build trust within the team. It can be challenging to integrate consultants into an existing team, especially if they are being introduced to solve problems that internal team members are unable to deal with on their own. Internal consultants and employees may be concerned about their jobs and reputations which may lead to tension. It is therefore important to communicate to internal staff that the need to engage consultants does not reflect adversely on them. Honesty is the best policy in explaining what the consultant is being brought in to deliver and the lessons that the internal team can learn from the project.

Ensure the consultant knows why they have been engaged

It is essential to clarify the consultants’ role and identify the key deliverables. Make sure everyone involved with the project understands why consultants have been engaged, including the consultants themselves. Ensure they are conscious of any underlying issues that might not have been openly discussed.

If consultants are employed by a third party consultancy firm then they not only have to satisfy client stake holders but also management of the consulting firm. The consulting firm will need to ensure the work performed is of the required quality to avoid the risk that the client will reject it and require remediation which could be non-chargeable. Satisfying internal stakeholders will have a direct impact upon client project delivery; however, a consultant’s career depends on their relationship with their consultancy and not with the end client. It’s worth considering that when a consultant seems reluctant to follow directions it may be because it conflicts with working practices and methodology of their consultancy.

Get consultants productive rapidly

It is important to ensure consultants are productive as soon as possible. Consultants should be able to start producing quickly, however, whilst they may not need as much on-boarding as new employees, they will still require support in getting acquainted with the organisation, the team they’ll be working with and with the details of the IFRS 17 project they will be working on.

What motivates consultants?

Accomplished consultants have four primary motivations. They wish to meet client needs, generate revenue for their consultancy, enhance their personal reputation and create the conditions for further business activity on account of their delivery record.

When a consultant has been engaged on a client site for some time then they may regard themselves as being a member of the client team. It may be assumed that their interests and the clients are the same. Whilst consultants are normally motivated by meeting client needs they are not necessarily there purely for the client’s benefit.

Managing consultants

Managing consultants as part of a project team should be the same as for internal team members. They should be set tasks which they will need to deliver on time and to the required quality. Consultant activity may change as projects progress. The best approach is to communicate regularly with consultants to continually discuss deliverables and expected outcomes.

Consultants need measurable goals, so should be to set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely) targets. These not only clarify expectations, but also allow measurement of progress and performance.

Feedback and monitoring

It is important to provide regular feedback. Consultants need feedback on their performance so they know what they’re doing well and where they should improve. If a consultant is engaged via a consulting firm then it is important to also provide them with feedback. It’s important that the consultancy firm is delivering on the promises they made and they will rely on regular feedback to ensure the statement of work is completed as agreed.

There are significant benefits to be gained by employing an external consultancy as long as they are correctly managed. It provides a simple, fast way to gain access to scarce expertise which in the case of IFRS17 is very much the case. Consultants should have the required skill set and be able to provide instant assistance to clients. They will be focused on project delivery and achieving results in a timely manner.

Millennium Consulting is an established (1995) Finance Technology consulting and resourcing company with almost 25 years experience assigning highly experienced individuals and teams to support insurers with regulatory change programs such as Solvency II, IFRS9 and IFRS 17.

We provide cost-effective, high quality interim support for niche insurance focused finance technologies such as Prophet, MoSes, Aptitude Software, Legerity Software, Tagetik & SAS. We also have extensive experience delivering change in respect of ERP and finance technologies such as SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft, SunSystems and Unit4 Financials (previously Coda).

To find out how we can provide support with your IFRS17 compliance program contact Brendan Shaw, at brendan.shaw@millenniumconsulting.co.uk.


The IFRS 17 challenge (and opportunity) ahead for insurers

The IFRS 17 challenge (and opportunity) ahead for insurers

January 1st, 2019

From 1st January, 2021, insurance companies will have to apply a new accounting standard, known as International Financial Reporting Standard 17 (IFRS 17), which will change the way revenue and profits are recognised for insurance contracts. IFRS 17 represents the most significant change to insurance accounting requirements in 20 years. Where previously each regional market disclosed financial reporting figures in their own way, from 2021 regulators will be able to compare the outputs of an insurance company in UK, with any other insurer in the world. The harmonised system demands a complete overhaul of insurers’ financial statements and will come at a cost to insurance companies. This will be a complex compliance project to the deadline date.

It’s an impactful change for insurers affecting many areas from actuarial models, accounting systems, product design and financial statements to taxation and operations. These fundamental changes, especially to their system will be both time-consuming and costly.

While the implementation date of 1st January 2021 may seem a long way off, the journey to IFRS 17 compliance will be time consuming and organisation need to act now if they haven’t done so yet.

The regulation represents a systemic change in the valuation of insurance contracts and will require a significant overhaul of financial and actuarial systems, processes, accounting and disclosure policies. IFRS17 compliance has quickly become a high business priority. The ripple effects of which will be felt throughout the finance value chain: from finance calculations to accounting, costing, planning, forecasting and reporting.

In a nutshell, IFRS 17 requires the revenue and profit earned from an insurance contract be recognised over the period the insurer provides coverage. Insurers do so by amortising unearned profits on a straight-line basis over the lifetime of a contract. The general effect of IFRS 17 is that it spreads the revenue as well as the profit over the lifespan of a contract as opposed to the current practice of taking most of the profit on Day 1.

Phil Keet, Managing Director at Millennium Consulting states, “The impact of this is that it raises certain challenges for insurance companies. It will have an impact on their profit statement, especially in the first year of implementation. The underlying economics don’t change, the risk is the same and the premium is the same, and it should generate the same profit over the duration of the contract. However, senior management and investors prefer to recognise profit now rather than spread over a 20 or 30 year period”.

97% of senior UK insurance professionals believe business is going to become more complex and costlier to operate in as a result of the regulation, and 90% believe that the cost of compliance will be more than the Solvency II Directive, according to research from data firm SAS.

Given the large scale and complexity involved, the time period to implement the necessary changes is tight. Finance and actuary functions will need to collaborate and work together closer than ever before to map their journey to compliance and assess the architecture gaps within the IT infrastructure. Most businesses do not have the computational ability to cope with the complex calculations.

The cost of compliance with IFRS 17 is significant, resulting in smaller companies potentially struggling. The top 10 global life insurance companies, combined, are expected to spend in excess of US$2 billion on this new standard. Half the compliance cost is expected to comprise in investment in systems.

To deliver on IFRS17, insurers will have to generate and process much higher volumes of data. There will need to be a complete shift in the way that information is collected, stored and analysed. Finance, actuarial and risk management IT architectures used within insurance companies are often siloed and rely on legacy tools that are not flexible enough to handle the detailed requirements of IFRS17. The temptation is to attempt to patch up the existing separate solutions, which may seem like a simple and cost-effective answer but one which will more than likely prove incredibly costly and risky. The siloes make for very manually intensive and error prone data management, trying to trace the reported figures back to the calculation models and assumptions that produced them.

“IFRS 17 compliance will be difficult to achieve by simply adapting legacy systems. Due to the complexity of the regulatory requirements and the large amount of good quality data that is needed, pursuing minimum compliance at minimal cost will leave insurers highly exposed” says Phil Keet.

IFRS17 also requires businesses to look and plan to the future. It introduces the concept of a forward-looking view on the finance data. Cash-flow modelling and forecasting and the ability to simulate the impact of a new product or a change in pricing on the IFRS17 financial statements are becoming key functionality requirements for technology under the new regulation. Trying to achieve this with legacy systems would be nearly impossible.

2021 seems like a long way off but in reality companies only have until the end of 2019 to design, build, test and implement all their system changes, as the transition adjustment and opening balance must be calculated effective of 1st January 2020, in order to derive the first-year comparatives.

Complying with this new regulation will force insurers to collate and store a huge amount of data from multiple source systems. A benefit of this bi-product of compliance will be a hugely valuable resource which insurers can use to give a clearer view of their insurance contracts’ performance. Combining data on a single platform for planning and forecasting, will eliminate silos across the organisation and ease data reconciliations, allowing more accurate results which the business can have confidence in. It will also enhance the comparability of the financial reporting and help insurers benchmark themselves against competitors.

Insurance companies need to look at a unified data platform to support the large volume of data required to achieve the regulatory requirements. The current reliance on heavily, manual processes and legacy systems has to change. Insurers need to look towards collaborative and open platform solutions that can mine and orchestrate the data from across the business, support the implementation of the core reporting requirements and be agile enough to respond to scenario modelling and the what-if analyses required during the transition period.

Starting implementation programmes early can help insurers seize new IFRS 17 market opportunities. I will be a time consuming and costly journey but will ultimately be one worth taking.