Giving companies a vision of where they need to be

Problem-solving is a passionate pursuit for this industry veteran, who discusses what he sees ahead

Kevin Lynch knew he wanted to work in business in a management or leadership role when he attended McGill University as a young man. To prepare for this, he earned his Bachelor of Commerce degree with a joint major in finance and labour management relations.

“My first job out of university was as a business analyst, so that seemed to fit what I wanted to do in terms of my title right out of university,” he says.

Throughout his career, he worked at various pension administration providers, including Hewitt, Mercer, and Aon, and worked his way up within these organizations. “I’ve always worked on the vendor side, but on behalf of clients in the third-party administration role.”

Today Lynch is senior vice-president of client solutions with Linea Solutions, a management and technology consulting firm for organizations that deliver benefits to their members and customers across the US and Canada. He says his previous roles all led perfectly to his role at Linea. “Linea is the ideal fit for me because it sits between the clients and the vendors.”

Linea Solutions was launched in 1999 as a boutique consulting firm and has grown into a large service provider with 130 staff across North America. The firm was established as a pension consultant in the US and expanded to Canada in 2015. Linea has firmly established its presence in Canada since then and works with some of Canada’s largest pension plans.

Helping clients with the lifecycle of modernization

“We provide pension and benefits and workers’ compensation administration consulting services,” says Lynch. “We work with large- and mid-sized public sector clients through a lifecycle of modernization. These are organizations that do the administration of their pensions and benefits themselves, so we work with them to figure out strategy for their technology, assessing their needs and resolving any gaps they may have.

“We start with an assessment of where they are today and try to give them a vision of where they need to be in the future. Then we work through a lifecycle of requirements and procure a solution. This includes helping them write RFPs and work through the implementation. During the implementation phase, we provide services such as project management, oversight, business analysis, and testing. We also work as a bridge between our clients and all the industry vendors.”

Lynch joined Linea in January 2022 and was recently appointed to his current role as senior VP of client solutions. In this position, he is in charge of sales and marketing, with a focus on business development.

“One thing we do on a regular basis is communicate what we hear from our clients and vendors as well as share important industry news to keep people informed and open the lines of communication.

“The most exciting part of my job, however, is working with our clients directly. This includes assessing them and providing advice and guidance as well as giving them insight into the different vendors in the marketplace.

Hot topics: AI and cybersecurity

As for important industry topics, Lynch says the top two hot topics at the moment are artificial intelligence (AI) and cybersecurity.

“With AI, I think everybody is still trying to figure out the benefits and the ramifications of it,” he says. “However, everybody wants it because it potentially has a lot of power and can definitely help improve some efficiencies.

“Data privacy around decision-making is another hot topic. We’re trying to stay at the forefront of that and determining where we see the benefits and where we see the potential risks with cybersecurity.

“People are concerned about data exposure with so much hacking going on in the world. There is so much potential for risk, especially in pensions and benefits, where there are substantial risks around financial data, personal data, and medical data.”

Another topic Lynch sees in the industry is the desire of plans to modernize their solutions.

“I believe part of the reason for this is because of COVID, which has people wanting to make changes right away and stay safe. Clients have been on these legacy systems since the early 2000s and they are getting to be 15 to 20 years old. They want to have a secure environment, so they are looking to cybersecurity, and then they are looking to incorporate platforms like AI for straight-through processing.

“As we see a lot of these changes happening within organizations, change management becomes more important. As a result, everyone is making sure change management is embedded in the organization to help people accept all the new modifications.”

Lynch enjoys, with his team, finding a different solution for each organizational challenge.

“There is creativity in putting those solutions together to make it perfect and define it for each problem and each company. You don’t think of pensions and benefits as a creative domain, but it is. There is creativity in finding multi-level and multifaceted solutions.