Smart Pension closes £15m funding round allowing rapid expansion

Sarah Dunsby

Source: Retna/Photoshot

Woah!

Fast growth auto enrolment pension provider Smart Pension has completed a £15m Series B funding round, taking the firm to its next level of rapid expansion. 

The MAF-accredited fintech firm, which sees a new business sign up every seven minutes, says the investment will help it continue to play a pivotal role in workplace pension innovation.

The firm is broadening its proposition to cater for the larger employers it expects to move to its super-fast platform in the next 12 months. 

The funding will also crucially enable Smart Pension to export its technology-led pension solution overseas, as more countries explore auto enrolment initiatives. 

Founded in 2014, this latest round brings Smart Pension’s total funding to date to £25m and values the company at more than £65m.  

Andrew Evans, co-founder and CEO of Smart Pension, said: “In a relatively short space of time Smart Pension has delivered, and successfully brought to market, affordable, efficient and accessible auto enrolment to thousands of small companies across the breadth of the UK. 

“This Series B funding round means we’ll be able to deliver more tech-led, pioneering innovations, such as one-click integration with Sage’s entire suite of payroll products within weeks and the further roll out of our unique pensions API, meaning we can further simplify pension compliance for UK PLC. 

“Like the government provider, Nest, we 100 per cent guarantee to accept all employers and employees. We, however, differ hugely on funding. Nest recently reported it has spent nearly £600m to date and that it is currently forecast to cost the taxpayer over £1.2bn.” 

Will Wynne, co-founder and MD of Smart Pension, said: “We are successful because we are highly responsive and build features to suit our clients’ needs. This funding allows us to continue to develop and enhance our platform for SMEs, as well as to evolve it to suit the growing number of large employers who, dissatisfied with their current provider, are looking to use the Smart Pension platform instead. We are also building tools which will enable us to cost effectively absorb sub-scale master trusts and DC schemes as the much-predicted market consolidation kicks in once the Pension Schemes Act becomes a reality.  

“Finally, this round will also help us take our first steps towards international roll out, as more countries approach us to explore auto enrolment and look for affordable, scalable and efficient solutions that do not require exorbitant funding from the taxpayer.” 

Smart Pension was launched in May 2015 to help provide a fast, affordable auto enrolment solution that dramatically improves the experience of hundreds of thousands of small and micro businesses that must comply with new pension legislation.

Last year the company announced investment from Europe’s largest institutional asset managers, Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM), and Emma Douglas, head of LGIM’s defined contribution pensions business, continues to play an active role in the business as a non-executive member of the board.

Smart Pension has a 5-star rating from Defaqto in the auto enrolment category as well as being one of the few top tier providers listed by the Pensions Regulator on its site. It is the fastest auto enrolment platform on the market to sign up with and advisers and employers can use it for free - there are no upfront or ongoing charges for companies or their advisers. 

The funding, arranged by Ashcombe Advisers, was led by the Stensrud family who are owners of Skagen, Norway’s largest privately owned asset manager. They were joined by existing investors from the City and technology arenas, including tech entrepreneurs Tom Valentine, co-founder of Secret Escapes, and William Reeve, the serial entrepreneur behind firms such as Zoopla, LOVEfilm and Graze.

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