In an example of beneficial consolidation at scale in the sector, the Ensign Master Trust will be consolidated into the Smart Pension Master Trust in order to deliver increased efficiencies and improved experience for employers and members. The integration and its benefits are enabled by Keystone, Smart’s cloud-based global technology platform, bringing true 21st century technology to the retirement savings sector.
The Ensign Master Trust currently has 62 employers, over 5100 members and £158m in assets. The consolidation will result in charges on members’ pots being reduced significantly. The changes would result in an average 25-year-old member with a pension pot of £2,500 achieving an estimated £5,200 more in savings by the time they retire at 65 under Smart Pension than under the previous Ensign scheme*.
In a further commitment to represent savers’ needs, Smart Pension will also create an advisory panel for the Ensign Retirement Plan. This will enable employers and members, as well as other stakeholders such as trade unions, to provide sector-specific feedback and support decision-making by the trustee of Smart Pension Master Trust for those Ensign members.
The integration of Ensign is the latest in Smart Pension’s consolidation strategy, which now includes eight former master trusts including the Welplan Master Trust, the Corpad Master Trust and Corporate Pensions Trust.
Jamie Fiveash, CEO of Smart UK said:
“For some time now, consolidation has been the watchword in the pension industry. People know that is the key to providing value for members. But all too often, we see schemes continue to run separately with duplicate governance and customers stuck on old legacy platforms with the same proposition. This deal, however, is an example of real consolidation – bringing Ensign into Smart Pension’s Master Trust structure and delivering all the benefits of its ground-breaking digital efficiency and customer experience. That means better value for Ensign’s members and a better outcome for Ensign’s employers.
“This acquisition demonstrates how we are uniquely positioned to change the pension industry. Smart Pension has quickly grown to almost one million members, with an excellent 4.6 star TrustPilot rating. As a technology company, we can spread out our costs at scale and offer a better proposition for less money. We see opportunity to provide similar benefits to other UK master trust members in the future, either organically or as part of our acquisition strategy.”
Rory Murphy, Chair of Ensign said:
“For over three years, the Ensign Master Trust has been delivering a high quality, low cost, flexible pension, run by and for members and employers rooted in the maritime industry.
“In joining with Smart Pension, we are now able not only to retain those qualities, but also to enhance them by reducing costs even further, offering greater digital efficiency and financial sustainability, all whilst retaining a strong and accountable governance structure.”
*Based on the assumption of an ONS average salary of £26,000, a 2.5% annual increase in salary, achieving annual market growth of 5% and maintaining the minimum UK contribution level of 8%.
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.