Fintech ClearGlass Analytics closes £2.6m funding to pension funds to hold asset managers accountable
● ClearGlass brings a level of disruption not seen before in the pensions world, and has captured almost half the £1.5 trillion of assets in the Defined Benefit pensions market in 24 short months
● Clearglass’s data platform holds asset managers accountable, offering a clearly defined ruleset for data delivery, quality and accuracy
● Data platform ClearGlass uncovers the true cost of asset management, including the fees investment companies charge their clients, including pension funds, as well as the other costs of asset management that are often not collected
04 March 2021: There is a £9.5trillion governance and communication problem in the financial asset management world as big finance, and the clients of big finance, don’t always communicate effectively. Industry transparency is a serious issue and fintech startup ClearGlass Analytics has closed a £2.6million funding round as it delivers greater accountability to pension funds and the wider asset management market.
Founded by Dr Christopher Sier, World Bank and FCA expert who previously developed the cost transparency standard at the request of the FCA, and tech experts Ritesh Singhania and Kunal Varma, ClearGlass is on a mission to promote fee transparency in the long-term savings market through its digital platform.
Recent analysis, highlighted in a recent article in the Financial Times, of cost and performance of over 400 asset managers found that most UK asset managers had met its minimum standards for data delivery, quality and accuracy, but 30 managers, including some of the largest and most powerful asset managers in the world, did not pass the quality test set by ClearGlass.
ClearGlass, a Founders Factory accelerator alum, acts as the data interface between asset managers and their clients, offering pension funds a digital platform where they can see all of their investment costs in one place. It allows its clients, pension funds, to get much more data from more asset managers and other suppliers, which helps them see the true cost of what they are paying for the management of their investments. ClearGlass typically uncovers costs of asset management that can be more than double those expected.
Initially targeting the £1.5trillion mature Defined Benefit pension schemes market, ClearGlass has helped both asset managers and pension funds communicate more effectively over costs, and ClearGlass now works with over 500 DB pension funds, which represent almost £700bn of pension assets. Today’s investment will support ClearGlass’s plans to further expand into the UK Defined Contribution pension market, and consolidate its early footprint in Europe and Africa. The company also plans to leverage the enormous network it has created in order to collect other data and build new and ever more useful Value-for-Money assessment tools for pensions.
Dr Christopher Sier, founder and CEO of ClearGlass, said,
“Finding your costs are so much larger is shocking, but also something to be celebrated. These incremental costs were always there, they just weren’t exposed, and now you can identify those and bring about change. You can’t manage what you don’t measure.”
Tim Giles, EMEA MD of Aon Investments said
“We’ve been working with ClearGlass since launch and not only have they improved our productivity by doing the data chasing for us, but the analysis they have produced has been of material benefit to many Aon clients. This new funding is great news as it will give Chris and the team what they need to expand into Europe and to develop their service. We look forward to continuing to work with them.”
The £2.6m seed round includes European VC Lakestar and Outward VC as well as several significant angels from both the asset management and pension fund worlds. These include Ruston Smith, a well-known professional pension trustee, Richard Butcher, Chair of the PLSA (UK pension trade body), Chris Wilcox, former Global Head of JP Morgan Asset Management and his former JP Morgan colleagues Rob O’Rahilly, Sikander Ilyas and Alex Large.
Louis Warner, Chief Operating Officer at Founders Factory added:
“We are proud to be early backers of ClearGlass and particularly the outstanding founding team of Chris and Ritesh. With Chris’ deep knowledge and authority in the sector, and Ritesh’s drive for product and customer-experience excellence, we believe their vision to bring transparency and innovation to the.pensions industry will be transformational.”
ClearGlass recently won the Financial News ‘Asset Management Technology Innovation of the Year Award’.
Please put any press enquiries to:
Chris Sier, CEO [email protected]
Notes for Editors
ClearGlass was launched in 2019 by long-term transparency campaigner Chris Sier, and his technology and entrepreneur business partners Ritesh Singhania and Kunal Varma, to act as a trusted digital intermediary between asset managers and pension funds. It harmonises the market for communication between asset managers and pension funds, providing transparency to pension funds and helping them make better investment decisions on behalf of their pension members.
Over the past 24 months ClearGlass has also developed partnerships with other organisations to provide cost and performance benchmarking services (McLagan) and independent academic research (Leeds University).
About Outward VC
Outward VC is a venture capital fund backing the next generation of European fintech and enterprise technology. The fund invests early stage in ambitious and talented entrepreneurs looking to scale companies that solve significant problems within large global markets. By utilising its platform – which includes investors Investec, NIBC and other institutional and private investors – and providing close support post-investment, Outward is committed to helping its companies rapidly achieve scale. Outward’s portfolio includes category leaders such as Curve, Monese and PrimaryBid.