Issues & Answers Special Advertising Section
October 2020

Issues & Answers: Technology Revolution

John Simone, Managing Director, Head of Insurance Solutions for Voya, said that when it comes to asset management, technology is a complement, not a replacement for human expertise. “It's a way to allow our investment professionals and service professionals to better meet the changing needs of our clients,” he said.  The following are excerpts of an interview.

John Simone

John Simone
Managing Director, Head of Insurance Solutions

“It's important for the investors, the distribution personnel, the business leaders, and the operations professionals to work together to make sure that we're getting the right technology to meet the needs of our clients, not just deploying technology for technology's sake.”

How is technology changing asset management?

Technology’s been part of asset management since the computer was invented. It’s imperative in terms of being able to process information, so that you can make good prudent investment decisions. But where I see it having tremendous impact for Voya and our clients is on the service side. The key metric for Voya is 100% client satisfaction, and that’s measured by clients being references around what you do.  Technology and the ability to report and provide information in a timely way to clients is really the backbone of that, delivering that type of service to a client.

Are artificial intelligence and machine learning also being employed in asset management these days?

Absolutely. From Voya’s perspective, we’re actively seeking AI and machine learning solutions to deliver better outcomes for our clients. With all the technology available to us today, we need to make sure that we’re deploying it in the right way to serve the needs of our clients. An example is, we use robotic process automation. (RPA)  We’ve deployed 15 robots within our asset management business, and they’ve saved us roughly 1,500 man hours. This allows us to use technology to redeploy our human capital to better service the needs of clients, so that they’re not doing more mundane tasks that we can have a robot do.

Is technology a complete replacement when it comes to asset management?

No, it’s a complement, definitely not replacement. It’s a tool to arm our investors and service people with the ability to do more in an environment where, quite frankly, there’s margin compression in terms of the products they’re offering their end consumers. We deploy technology to deliver better service, but do it in the most cost effective way instead of just literally throwing bodies at a problem. You don’t have that ability to do that anymore in any industry, quite frankly. That’s really, really important in terms of the way that we’re looking at how we grow our business and maintain margins so that we can reinvest in our businesses and deliver the best in class solutions to our clients.

How is Voya capitalizing on the insurtech revolution?

We use it in many different ways, but one example I think is a bit analogous—our data warehouse and the governance that we have over it, whereby we’re able to take data from many different things that we do. Whether it’s private credit or public credit, as an example, and be able to create customized reports to meet the needs of our clients, their specific needs, because everybody wants something customized for them, and for their boards, and for their analysts, etc.  An example is prior to the credit crisis, our commercial mortgage lending group collected maybe two dozen data points. Going through the financial crisis and meeting the needs of various stakeholders rating agencies, etc., today we collect over 200 data points. We’re able to house a lot of that data in a data warehouse, on the cloud, in order to deliver customized reports to clients. It’s just one example of many.  It’s really important to keep up with that revolution, but again, I always come back to clients.