Workplace pension innovator Smart Pension has announced on Thursday that it is to open a US office as the first overseas base for its global savings technology arm.
The firm is set to open an office in Chicago later this year, in response to the significant global interest shown in its technology-enabled retirement services.
The announcement comes as the award-winning firm takes part in a UK fintech delegation to the city, led by the Rt. Hon. Lord Mayor of the City of London Peter Estlin, which saw a hand-picked cohort of London’s leading financial services companies introduced to Chicago’s urban tech scene. The delegation includes British-based fintech firms including Revolut and Worldpay.
Will Wynne, co-founder and MD of Smart said, “Chicago is an ideal base for our first step into the US market, with its excellent connectivity back to the UK, and also with our strategic partners in the US. Additionally, access to a pool of highly educated and skilled individuals is essential as we look to deploy our US operation, and Chicago area scores well here.
“International expansion is a key part of our ‘Platform as a Service’ strategy and this opportunity with the Lord Mayor will allow us to build on the work we’re already doing in other markets, including Australia, to deliver our world-class savings and retirement technology to financial services providers.”
Peter Estlin, Lord Mayor of London said, “The US is one of the UK’s most significant trading partners, not least when it comes to financial services. The arrival of the fourth industrial revolution gives us an opportunity to deepen those relationships further for the future, and open a new chapter in our collaboration.
“With that in mind, it is fantastic to see Smart expand into the US with an excellent base in Chicago, a brilliant place to do business. I am looking forward to seeing their impact in the US retirement market, and seeing the benefits for consumers and households on both sides of the Atlantic.”
In January J.P. Morgan announced it had taken a minority equity stake in the firm as part of a strategic placement funding round. Smart has also had investment from Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM), Europe’s second-largest asset manager.
Dan McLaughlin, Smart’s Director of International said, “The issues of longevity, financial well-being and the need for people to save more for retirement are common to all nations. Solving the problem using technology is an affordable and efficient way of approaching the challenge.”
In October 2018, the company won its first international competitive tender to deliver a technology platform for New Ireland Assurance, one of Ireland’s top life insurance, pensions and investment businesses, owned by Ireland’s largest financial services business, Bank of Ireland.
In the US, the firm is in advanced discussions around utilising its technology-enabled workplace savings services, to offer 401(k)s, open MEPs, IRAs, with announcements expected in late 2019 and early 2020.
Smart Pension is a global savings and investments technology platform provider. Co-founded in 2014 by Andrew Evans, CEO, and Will Wynne, MD, it is one of the UK's largest providers of workplace pensions. Its award-winning master trust is overseen by independent professional trustees. In 2016, Europe’s second largest asset manager Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM) took a minority stake in the digital pension platform, part of a move by LGIM to invest in high-achieving, innovative technology that has a positive impact on the wider economy. In January 2019 J.P. Morgan invested as part of a strategic investment round and in November 2019, Link Group, the leading administrator in the Australian superannuation industry, invested as part of strategic partnership.
In 2019 Smart Pension was named DC Master Trust of the Year, DC Innovation of the Year and Retirement Innovation of the Year in the UK Pensions Awards. It was also named European Pension Fund of the Year 2019 in the European Pension Awards.
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