Fintech ClearGlass Analytics closes GBP2.6m funding round
Fintech startup ClearGlass Analytics has closed a GBP2.6million 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 GBP1.5 trillion 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 GBP700 billion 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, 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 GBP2.6 million 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, adds: “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’.