J.P. Morgan takes strategic equity investment in Smart Pension

Julian Marr reports...

Smart Pension has taken its current fund-raising efforts up towards £50m after J.P. Morgan’s US-based strategic investment group took a minority stake in the workplace pensions provider.

The UK-based fintech is in what it described as “early-stage conversations” with new strategic partners globally in a bid to secure its place as a key player in the UK defined contribution pensions landscape and take its savings platform technology into new markets.

In October last year, Smart announced it had won an international competitive tender to deliver a pensions technology platform for New Ireland Assurance, one of Ireland’s leading life insurance, pensions and investment businesses.

Smart Pension co-founder and CEO Andrew Evans (pictured, right) said the J. P. Morgan investment signified a positive step in the company’s growth and international reach. “From the outset our objective has been to put user engagement and experience at the heart of everything we do, using technology to build an unrivalled platform,” he said. “The opportunities to disrupt and do things differently in this sector are staggering and we will be leading the way.”

‘Clients first’

J.P. Morgan Asset Management global head of retirement solutions Anne Lester, who will take a non-executive seat on the Smart board, said: “We are investing in pensions and savings solutions and technology capabilities to help investors achieve better financial outcomes, reinforcing our commitment to putting clients first in every aspect of our business.

“Smart Pension has demonstrated how financial technology can have a positive impact by making it easier both for people to save for retirement and for companies to offer pension plans to their employees.”

Smart Pension co-founder and MD Will Wynne (pictured, left) said: “This gives us an opportunity to demonstrate how our unique proprietary dynamic technology is plugging a huge gap in the workplace savings platform market, and performing on a global scale. We are now in early-stage conversations with new strategic partners as the world’s financial institutions grapple with regulatory change and legacy technology.”

Last month, Lighthouse Group announced it was going to transfer its auto-enrolment business to Smart Pension after a strategic review by the business concluded the incoming master trust regulations would significantly increase the associated costs.