LONDON — Smart, the London-headquartered fintech transforming the global retirement savings market, today announces it has closed its $95m Series E funding in a round led by Aquiline Capital Partners LLC (“Aquiline”), a private investment firm based in New York and London. Existing investors participating in the round include: Chrysalis Investments, Fidelity International Strategic Ventures, DWS, Barclays and Natixis Investment Managers.
Funds from this investment round will bolster Smart’s global expansion plans, building on the company’s strong performance in Europe, the US, Middle East and Asia. Proceeds from the funding round will also help finance near-term acquisitions and accelerate Smart’s investment in and distribution of its proprietary retirement savings technology platform, Keystone. The market-leading growth and profitability of its UK-based Smart Pension business is underpinned by the scalability of the Keystone platform.
Smart has experienced a period of exceptional growth, with group revenue of £67m in 2022, a 65% increase on the previous year. In February 2023, Smart was ranked among Europe’s fastest-growing companies by the Financial Times.
Smart today already has over £5.5 billion in Assets Under Management (AUM) on its platform and is expected to exceed £10bn by the end of June 2023 following this Series E funding. Growth has been driven by the accelerating global demand for modern, digital retirement savings technology, the success of Smart Pension in the UK and strategic M&A.
Established in 2014 by Andrew Evans and Will Wynne in the wake of the UK’s roll out of mandatory workplace pension auto enrolment, Smart owns and operates one of “the big four” UK auto enrolment master trusts, Smart Pension, serving more than one million savers and 70,000 employers.
The group’s ongoing and future success is underpinned by Keystone, the world’s first global, cloud-native, workplace retirement savings platform. Keystone provides all the infrastructure needed to deliver modern, digital retirement savings for governments and financial services partners around the world, supporting the wave of change currently transforming the $62 trillion AUM global pensions sector.
A successful technology export story for the UK, the platform already powers numerous retirement savings solutions around the world. These include an award-winning partnership with one of Ireland’s most well-known financial services institutions, pooled retirement solutions rolled out nationally across the US and a partnership with Zurich Workplace Solutions (Middle East), part of the Zurich Insurance Group, on the Dubai government workplace saving scheme.
As populations age and governments struggle with high national debt and large fiscal deficits, the responsibility to save for retirement is increasingly being pushed, by regulation, onto individuals and employees via the workplace. To help them close the retirement savings gap, governments and large-scale financial institutions are leaning on Smart’s Keystone technology to ensure that people are saving more and are empowered to manage their money effectively. In pursuit of these crucial objectives, Keystone provides, at scale, a leap forward in digital experience, bringing the retirement savings sector in line with advanced technology sectors such as ecommerce and online banking.
Jeff Greenberg, Chairman and CEO of Aquiline, said:
“Smart’s distinct retirement technology leadership coupled with Aquiline’s deep experience in the retirement technology industry makes this a compelling investment, as does the growing global need for better retirement saving technology. Smart has consistently delivered impressive commercial growth, and is backed by an array of top-tier investors whom we are delighted to join. Under the leadership of Andrew and Will, we have every confidence that Smart is a multi-billion pound company in the making.
“The UK remains at the forefront in the digitalisation and democratisation of retirement savings and we are excited to support a UK leader in the sector as it helps to solve pressing issues facing savers, financial institutions and governments across the world.”
The co-founders of Smart, Andrew Evans and Will Wynne, said:
“This investment is strong recognition of Smart’s success and journey to date, and highlights the immense opportunity that lies ahead. It is also a resounding vote of confidence in the UK’s fintech sector, and its leadership in financial services provision.
“We are on a mission to transform retirement, savings and financial wellbeing. We are the global leader in retirement technology and our industry-leading platform, Keystone, is being deployed by the biggest, most successful financial institutions around the world. This is a $62 trillion global sector in the early stages of being disrupted, and we are uniquely positioned to take advantage of that. We have already reached scale and profitability in the UK, with Smart Pension now serving in excess of one million savers, and this backing allows us to achieve that scale and profitability in our global markets across the group. We welcome Aquiline to our board and we’re incredibly excited for the years ahead.”
Smart continues to strengthen its board of directors, with Charles Janeway of Aquiline joining as non-executive director.
Lazard acted as financial adviser to Smart in relation to the Series E funding round. Perella Weinberg acted as financial adviser to Aquiline.