Fintech Robos and Prime Factor Sign Partnership to Roll out End-of-Service Benefit Solution in MENA
As a response to new regional appetite to turn ESB
into Defined Contribution structure,
Fintech Robos and Prime Factor Sign Partnership
to Roll out End-of-Service Benefit Solution in MENA
Manama ———: Fintech Robos, the Bahrain-based B2B Fintech company providing mobile-first savings and pensions white-label technology, is partnering with Prime Factor, a Belgian Actuarial IT firm, to roll out a Fintech-based actuarial product for calculating and managing End-of-Service Benefit for which expat workers in the GCC countries are eligible. The move comes as a timely response to the new regional appetite, started successfully in DIFC last year, to fund ESB liabilities through a Defined Contribution (DC) structure, which has thus far shown impressive results.
According to the deal, Fintech Robos will be integrating Prime Factor’s bespoke actuarial calculation engine for End-of-Service Benefit in their technology stack and distributing it to their corporate clients in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The ESB calculations can be built on classical (investments), Universal Life or Unit Linked principles.
The ESB benefits (also referred to as leavers’ indemnity) is a benefit paid to expatriate workers in Bahrain and the wider GCC. The benefit requires a payment to the expatriate employee when they leave service, and the value of the payment is based on the employee’s wage when they leave and the number of years they have worked.
Ebrahim K Ebrahim, CEO of Fintech Robos, says based on local labour laws, substantial amounts can become payable to staff if we consider regional medium-to-large enterprises. “Whilst companies do account for the liability, very few companies set specific funds aside. The liability is present on the company’s balance sheet, however it’s almost entirely used as part of working capital,” he said.
He explains that this unfunded approach to the ESB benefits puts both the employee and the company at risk in the event that the company performs badly and needs to reduce staff numbers.
“Even if the liability has been accounted for correctly there is no guarantee that the company will have sufficient cash to be able to make payments. In the case where company performance has been poor, the likelihood of having little cash or access to liquidity from the banks is increased,” he explains.
Mr. Wim Daems, Partner at Prime Factor commented by saying “Prime Factor is indeed keen on playing a significant role in the currently changing ESB landscape in the Middle East. Partnering with Fintech Robos is a next major step to jointly reach our strategic objectives: Earlier, we already partnered with Dubai based Leapfintech in 2019, with whom we co-created our ESB solution.
This self-service ESB cloud solution adds value integrating sound actuarial principles that help employers understand better their current risk and exposure to the ESB liability and gives them much needed insight to manage future ESB liabilities. This understanding needs to go way beyond some simplified methods used by employers currently in the GCC.
Moreover, and based on same sound actuarial principles, employers and employees will now at the same time be eligible to make a natural shift into a modern and future proof employee benefits ESB scheme, which should solve the issues currently experienced with the ESB.”
Founded in 2020, Fintech Robos is a home-grown fintech firm that revolutionizes how household savings, investment and pensions operations can be digitally managed. “We want to build a trusted, purpose-driven regional house of Fintech solutions for long-term savings and pensions,” said Mr. Ebrahim.
Importantly, Fintech Robos aims to be part of the solution to the region’s chronic pension funding conundrum. It will do so by filling the current gap in technologies and admin services available that allow the provision of both personal and contributory (Defined Contribution) pension plans. The ESB solution integrates well with the Retail and Corporate employee savings plans already supported by Fintech Robos’ technology.
Prime Factor is an actuary and an actuarial IT consulting firm headquartered in Belgium providing actuarial consultancy services on insurance, pensions and actuarial IT engines. Prime Factor & LeapFintech are both graduates of the Dubai fintech hive.