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Foreword

Bringing retirement into the 21st century

“Retirement is changing,” we often hear from within the retirement savings industry. While it is true, it misses part of the picture. Retirement has already changed. It continues to do so at pace and, sadly, much of the industry has not adapted fast enough to meet savers’ needs.

The number of savers on our retirement technology platform rapidly approaches seven figures. It’s grown to that level in the six years since we launched because we focus intently on understanding what savers actually want. That comes in part from our real-time data platform, in part from detailed user experience research and in part from a structured innovation and testing process. Once we understand, test and prove those needs, we then take that knowledge and build technology to genuinely put savers’ needs first.

Rather than keep all of this information to ourselves, we want to share some of our research and findings for the better of the whole retirement savings industry.

When we sat down to build and grow Smart, we defined our mission carefully, as we knew we could make a difference to outcomes of savers working all over the world, and we wanted to create the greatest positive impact we could. 

Our mission is to transform retirement, savings and financial well-being, across all generations, around the world.

Smart mission statement

Part of the way we achieve our mission is through growing and evolving our retirement technology platform. We’ve spent the last few years developing, testing and delivering Smart Retire, for example, a solution we know from research will revolutionise the way savers manage their savings ‘at retirement’ and beyond. However, alongside our own technology and innovation, we know we can also improve the likelihood of succeeding in our mission by sharing our knowledge to inspire the whole industry. It’s some of the secret sauce that’s taken us in the last six years from launch to a presence on four continents, with blue chip investors including J.P. Morgan, Legal & General, Barclays, Link Group and Natixis.

This report takes you through findings from more than 6,000 savers across the UK, Australia and the USA, where we discuss their knowledge, attitudes and concerns about retirement saving. In the future, we may expand this to include other regions, but we picked these for our initial report as they are the most evolved defined contribution markets in the world, and therefore where decision-making around retirement is in the hands of respondents themselves.

In the report, you’ll find insights specific to the three countries. Each region differs slightly in terms of the market’s overall approach to retirement, and the attitudes of savers. We’ve found, from both this research and our own internal insights teams’ work, that there are commonalities across the globe, too. Three findings in particular stand out: that traditional retirement is ‘over’, that the retirement savings advice gap is real and that savers are crying out for assistance in managing their money. Digital technology will play a key role in providing solutions to address these needs. We hope you find the report useful, and that you’re able to use it to improve the outcomes of savers wherever you have influence.

Andrew Evans, Group CEO      Will Wynne, Group MD