Interview with Hyfen’s CEO, Hidde Terpoorten
Over the past two years, a team of 10 APG employees worked to build an IT platform in which different pension administrations are linked together in a simple and customer-friendly way. This fall, they go to the market with their first product. A good time to continue as an independent company under the name “Hyfen”, according to new CEO Hidde Terpoorten.
You will continue independently, with APG as an important shareholder. Why was this construction chosen?
“At APG, within the Groeifabriek, we have been working on shared IT infrastructure for the past two years to make business ecosystems function. Now the time has come for us to market the first concrete product this fall: Mijnwaardenoverdracht.nl, together with APG, PGGM, NN and Blue Sky Group. Operating and bringing a multi-party IT platform live is an activity that does not fit within APG’s core activities. In addition, our IT technology also differs from that of APG. Our IT is decentralized in character, to enable collaboration between parties. Blockchain or distributed ledger technology is one of the building blocks. With this platform, we can provide services to multiple providers and also develop new non-pension-related products. In short, there are several reasons to continue independently now.”
What kind of products/services are you referring to?
“Safely and efficiently exchanging information between parties, without losing sight of privacy. Our core quality lies in this, together with supporting parties in the collaboration.”
“We are now going to show that with Mijnwaardeoverdracht.nl. Simultaneously, over the past years we worked with other parties in the pension sector to demonstrate the power of cooperation, for example in the “Maatwerk voor innovatieprogramma” with the AFM and DNB and the shared pilot with the Rijksdienst voor Identiteitsgegevens. But we also believe that this philosophy can be of added value in the banking and insurance world. For example, when building up a mortgage file or transferring claim-free years.”
What added value does that provide for the participant / consumer?
We believe that with our approach, administrative processes can be made cheaper, simpler and more customer-friendly. Especially when several (administrative) parties are involved in a process or procedure, it can take a long time and is perceived fairly complex. There is still much to be gained by bringing these parties together and by having information exchanged in a safe and efficient manner, whereby the participant / consumer is put first. A good example is enabling the broader availability of the “attesta de vita” app developed by APG Groeifabriek for ABP. At Hyfen we can really play a role in this by simply and securely exchanging information that is used by many customers with each other, making the lives of both companies and participants a lot easier.
What does this independence mean for the relationship with APG?
“APG will remain involved as a shareholder and customer and in that capacity will join the supervisory board and customer advisory board of Hyfen. As a result, we can continue to make use of APG’s knowledge and expertise, but in the role of advisor. APG will give us the space to further develop and expand Hyfen. We can also make use of the know-how of our other majority shareholder: Belgian party The Glue. The Glue has a lot of experience in building platforms for the financial sector. In short, a good match for our activities.”
What goals are there for Hyfen?
“Our first goal is to make Mijnwaardeoverdracht.nl a success. This will soon be thé one-stop shop for participants who want to explore and implement the options for pension value transfer. In addition, we want to create new business based on the same collaboration principle.”
“We believe that by allowing companies to work together in ecosystems, financial chains can be organized differently and more coherently. You can already see various initiatives for cooperation within and outside the pension sector that are aimed at more efficient and customer-friendly organization of processes or increasing data quality. These are all trends in which we as Hyfen can play a role. Offering the app for “Attesta de Vita”, recently developed by APG Groeifabriek, in our built-up ecosystem is an example of this. Furthermore, the examples I just mentioned from the banking and insurance world are a possibility. But we also keep a close eye on developments surrounding the new pension contract. This will lead to new needs of participants and clients in which Hyfen wants to play a role.”
Can you give an example of how Hyfen could help / support participants with the new pension contract?
By retrieving information from the direct source and thus limiting the number of copies, we can facilitate both cheaper and more customer-friendly pension processes and communication for pension providers and insurers. Certainly for processes that are the same for every operator, it is no longer self-evident that they are set up by each party itself.
“We believe that with simple and customer-friendly processes on a shared platform, we can be part of the transition to the new pension system. In this way, we also reduce administration costs by working intelligently together with the entire pension ecosystem.”
What will change for employees?
“Except for the fact that we are going to work with the team for another employer, not much changes. The ten of us have of course already worked intensively and relatively independent together in the past two years. Colleagues in Heerlen will continue to work as Hyfen employees on APG’s Brightlands Smart Services Campus. So they will soon bump into former colleagues. In Amsterdam we are still looking for a suitable office space. Corona has put less pressure on this. All in all, it is quite an adventurous step: the switch from a large and renowned company like APG to a kind of start-up company. But it is a step that we dare to take in our product with full conviction and confidence.”