One of the leading figures in the UK pensions industry has joined fast-growth auto enrolment firm Smart Pension from the government scheme NEST.
Paul Budgen, known as 'Budgie' in the industry, is a pensions stalwart, with nearly 25 years of experience at some of the top names in the industry, including Legal & General, Aviva, HSBC and Aegon.
Paul, who joins as director of business development at Smart Pension, said: "Ten years ago, pensions were pretty dull but we were on the eve of something big and different and therefore I joined NEST in 2013 to be at the heart of auto enrolment. NEST had the potential to be the biggest player and I wanted to help make a difference. NEST is now the largest master trust in this country. But we now need to focus on building the next stage of the automatic enrolment programme."
"My latest decision to move is for similar reasons as before. Smart Pension is where the industry innovation is at, the company is not limited in its imagination and can move quickly into exciting new products and services."
"I was attracted to Smart Pension's attitude, ambition and pace. It's what the industry needs to see if it is going to help solve the UK's ticking retirement time bomb once and for all. I'm looking forward to working with the team to make a difference in people's lives."
Andrew Evans, CEO and co-founder of Smart Pension said: "Everyone in the industry knows Paul for his deep working knowledge and integrity. He was one of the first to understand the potential of auto enrolment for changing people's life experience – and it's clear he's recognised that Smart Pension has a major role to play in that."
"We're delighted he can join our top team. Paul's top-notch skills, experience and enthusiasm will be invaluable as we experience rapid growth and continue to deliver industry-first innovation."
From next week/Tuesday, February 27, he will be heading up the growing team at Smart Pension at its new Paddington headquarters, as the firm sees 1,000 new members a day enrol into its high tech scheme.
Smart Pension now runs workplace pensions for 80,000 employers and 400,000 members.
The firm's award-winning, highly automated platform harnesses time-saving applications to allow fast, seamless auto enrolment with a sign-up and onboarding process that takes just a few minutes from start to finish. It is free to employers and has an AMC-only charging structure for members that is transparent with no upfront or hidden costs.
It is MAF-accredited and in June 2017 it was named as Fintech Innovation of the Year and overall winner in the Digital Leaders 100 Awards. Surprisingly, Smart Pension has recently seen an acceleration in its growth, despite the end of the auto enrolment "staging" process, as employers fed up with their current provider switch in droves to the tech-led platform.
It has an average score of 4.4 out of 5 in Google reviews from its customers.
Launched in 2015, Smart Pension exceeds £4bn in assets under management (AUM) and now serves over one million members and more than 70,000 employers. It is powered by Keystone, Smart’s global savings and investments technology platform.
Aquiline Capital Partners, Barclays, Chrysalis Investments, DWS Group, Fidelity International Strategic Ventures, J.P. Morgan, Legal & General Investment Management, Link Group and Natixis Investment Managers are all investors in Smart Pension.