U.K. retirement plan technology innovator The Smart Group today announced that it has chosen Chicago for its U.S. headquarters. The new office will be located in the Western Loop and will open this fall.
The move is part of a response to the significant international interest in the global savings technology provider’s modern technology-enabled retirement platform services in the workplace, covering everything from 401(k), open MEPs to IRA.
The announcement comes as the award-winning firm takes part in a U.K. fintech delegation to the city, led by the Rt. Hon. Lord Mayor of the City of London Peter Estlin. The hand-picked cohort of London’s leading financial services companies including Comply Advantage, Worldpay, Yulife, and Delio Wealth will be introduced to Chicago’s urban tech scene to ‘build new business tie-ups.’
Will Wynne, co-founder and managing director of Smart, said, “Chicago is an ideal base for our first step into the U.S. market, with its excellent connectivity back to the U.K., and also with our strategic partners in the U.S. Additionally, access to a pool of highly educated and skilled individuals is essential as we look to deploy our U.S. operation, and the Chicago area scores well here.”
He further added, “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 U.S. is one of the U.K.’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 U.S. with an excellent base in Chicago, a brilliant place to do business. I am looking forward to seeing their impact in the U.S. 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.
Launched in 2015, Smart has already established itself as one of the U.K.’s leading workplace retirement plan providers, building and operating via its own master trust on behalf of thousands of employers. Smart’s platform is also ideally positioned to take advantage of proposed legislative changes via the Setting Every Community up for Retirement Enhancement Act 2019 (SECURE Act), which would allow small businesses to band together to create their own retirement plans through Open Multiple Employer Plans.
Dan McLaughlin, Smart’s International Director, 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.”