ClearGlass Analytics, the fintech pensions data platform founded by Chris Sier, has closed a £2.6m funding round.
ClearGlass’s rapid growth has led to it advising almost half the £1.5 trillion of assets in the defined benefit pensions market in two years.
Its data platform is designed to uncover the full 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.
Founder Dr Chris Sier has advised the World Bank and FCA and developed the cost transparency standard at the request of the FCA.
Co-founders Ritesh Singhania, chief operating officer of Clear Glass, and Kunal Varma, chief technology officer, make up the leadership team.
Recent analysis 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 says it typically uncovers costs of asset management that can be more than double those expected.
Initially targeting the £1.5trillion mature DB pension schemes market, ClearGlass now works with over 500 DB pension funds, representing 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 network it has created in order to collect other data and build new value-for-money assessment tools for pensions.
Sier says: “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 says: “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 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, COO at Founders Factory says: “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.”