RCL Named Fund Actuary of the Year at the Pension Awards

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Darshan Ruparelia

Exceptional client service was the major contribution to this achievement

Founded in 2014 by Darshan Ruparelia, Ruparelia Consultants Limited (RCL) was the recipient of the 2017 fund actuary of the year award. The awards, which draws participants from the service providers, individual schemes, umbrella schemes, occupational schemes, trustees and approved issuers, seeks to recognize stakeholder’s excellence in innovation and service provision to improve the outcomes of both pension funds and members. Destin Africa had a chat with one of the directors about the company, what contributed to the win and expectations going forward.

Tell us more about RCL?
RCL was established following the relocation of Darshan from the United Kingdom (UK) to Kenya. Darshan started the consultancy with support from fellow actuary Mark Stephenson who is based in the UK. Darshan practiced as a consulting actuary in the UK for 9 years primarily advising public sector and private sector occupational pension schemes. Both Darshan and Mark are Fellows of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries (of the UK). Darshan is also a Fellow of the Actuarial Society of Kenya.

What are some of your service offering?
We provide actuarial, financial modelling and risk management advice to governments and governmental organizations, public and private pension scheme trustees and sponsors, (re)insurance companies, not-for-profit organizations, and SMEs and large-scale corporations.

Why RCL?
Our team provides personalized service to each of our clients and can handle complex assignments under tight timelines set by clients and tailored specifically to their needs. We are friendly and professional, committed to meeting each client’s needs by performing quality work at an affordable fee.

What do you think led RCL to win the Fund Actuary of the Year in 2017?
Exceptional client service. In our field there is a serious challenge in communicating complex solutions that need to be understood and appreciated by the decision-makers or end-users. At RCL, we pride ourselves in communicating effectively, both in writing and verbally. Our clients often remark on the clarity and attention to detail of our written reports, and the informative nature of our live presentations. We tailor each project to the needs of the client and approach each analysis without bias toward a particular result.

How was the experience?
It was a humbling experience to win the award as we are still a relatively new consultancy in the market. It has also motivated our team to continue providing excellent service to our clients.

What are some of your other achievements?
Our other major achievements include being considered by the Rwanda Social Security Board for whom, as part of a joint venture, RCL carried out an actuarial valuation of their pension and occupational hazards scheme, which has around one million members. We are also working with The Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Environment and Sustainable Development (Social Security Division) under the Mauritius government for whom, as part of a joint venture, RCL is carrying out an actuarial valuation of their National Pensions Fund, National Saving Funds & Basic Pensions which has around a quarter of a million members.

Can you tell us more about your Corporate Social Responsibility activities?
At RCL, we believe that our motivation comes from providing for others. We organise and take part in a range of charities. For example, the RCL team was involved in distributing food and water supplies to drought affected regions of Marafa and LangoBaya in December 2016. We also regularly serve food and distribute gifts to Tumaini Children’s Home, the Port Reitz School and Mombasa Children’s Home. Our main aim is to inspire these children to have the same motivation and determination to succeed as we expect from our own consultants.

Can you comment about the current trends in the industry you operate in?
There are various changes or consultations that are happening in the pensions’ market in Kenya – such as the need for more flexible benefits that better meet the needs of members, more diversified investment opportunities including investments in infrastructure projects through Public-Private Partnerships and the need for more powers to Trustees or Managers of pension schemes to help them protect the interests of members. The biggest challenge, though, is how to increase pension savings in the Kenyan (and East African) market and to encourage the informal sector to save for their future.

Insurance penetration in the insurance industry is also a “hot-topic” as it the use of data analytics to design insurance products that meets the specific needs of policyholders and which helps with efficiencies in claims management.

Road ahead for the company?
Our aim is to build on the strong foundation that we already have in the East-African region as well as explore how we can grow our business in other Sub-Saharan territories.
The key issue that we face on a regular basis is to educate and encourage stakeholders on the benefits of seeking independent and reliable professional advice. From seeking such advice stakeholders would be expected to be better placed and informed before making appropriate decisions.