Link Group forms strategic partnership with Smart Pension, UK

SYDNEY: Link Administration Holdings Limited has formed a strategic global partnership and minority investment in Smart Pension, a leading workplace pension platform in the UK.

The partnership with Smart Pension provides Link Group a strong and credible market entry point into the fast-growing UK pension administration market and builds on Link Group’s leading presence in the Australian and New Zealand superannuation markets.

Link Group joins Legal & General and J.P. Morgan who are current equity investors in Smart Pension. This partnership with the award-winning UK fintech provides Link Group with a strong and immediate entry into the growing UK retirement market (estimated at US$2.9 trillion in size) and builds on Link Group’s business presence in the UK.

Link Group’s investment in Smart Pension provides Link Group with access to Smart Pension’s platform in the UK, with exclusive utilisation of this platform in certain jurisdictions across Europe and Asia.

Link Group will also take on the administration for Smart’s UK workplace pension operation, including the administration of the fast growing Smart Pension Master Trust (subject to no objection from The Pensions Regulator).

This partnership with Smart establishes a Link Group pension and retirement solutions offering in the UK. Link Group’s new UK initiative will be led by Susan Ring. Susan will continue in her role as CEO, Corporate Markets, EMEA.

Smart Pension was launched in 2015 and has already established a presence in the rapidly growing UK auto enrolment market and corporate defined contribution market. Smart Pension currently has half a million members and 60,000 employers.

Auto enrolment, similar to the superannuation guarantee legislated in Australia, has required all UK employers to automatically enrol their eligible workers into a pension scheme – replacing the previous ‘opt in’ regime with an ‘opt out’ system. The rollout of the reforms was completed in early 2018.

This move is a logical expansion of Link Group’s UK activities given Link’s expertise in supporting large scale pensions administration and global clients.

Link Group Managing Director, John McMurtrie, said: “We are impressed by the Smart Pension team and confident in their people and technology capabilities, as well as their extensive understanding of the defined contribution pensions market in the UK. “This partnership will leverage Link Group’s core capabilities and is an example of our strategy to identify attractive adjacent market opportunities aligned with our service strengths, with a pathway to future growth.”

Smart Pension CEO, Andrew Evans, said: “This strategic partnership with a world-class player like Link Group significantly strengthens our global expansion plans while giving Link Group access to the UK retirement market and our leading financial products including our innovative at-retirement solution ‘Smart Retire’.“Link Group has been at the forefront of administration in a very successful Australian superannuation market and it continues to invest in state of the art systems. This is a very positive partnership which facilitates both companies entering new markets.”

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