Smarterly, the workplace savings platform that uses artificial intelligence to design and monitor investment portfolios for employees, has appointed Michael Johnson as Advisor, Corporate Affairs and Policy. After running David Cameron’s Economic Competitive Policy Group, Michael became a Research Fellow at the Centre for Policy Studies. He is the author of over 40 pensions-related papers and was instrumental in the introduction of the Lifetime ISA. More recently he has detailed proposals to both the DWP and Treasury Select Committees for a Workplace ISA to compete with occupational pension products, residing alongside, or within, the Lifetime ISA (details may be found here.)
Michael joins Smarterly to provide counsel, insight and strategic communications as it expands the team following a recent injection of cash through a crowd funding campaign. Focused on the workplace, Smarterly supports companies with their financial wellbeing programmes and helps employees save with the convenience of payroll deduction, often with a contribution boost from their employer as a complement to pensions.
Michael said: “With 16 million UK adults having less than £100 in savings1, and over 50% of the UK workforce borrowing money to pay for basic needs2, we need more engaging propositions to turn the UK into a nation of savers. Innovation is essential. 2015’s widely welcomed pensions freedoms facilitated considerable individual flexibility in retirement, but workplace schemes have been slow to personalise how they interact with the individual. Smarterly’s artificial intelligence-led workplace savings platform means that employees of all ages can be supported with an alternative to pensions, supporting younger people with their needs, and higher earners with tightening limits on pension savings”.
Phil Hollingdale, Co-Founder of Smarterly, said: “Financial Advisers are not interested in giving advice to people with less than £100k in liquid assets. Consequently, the average consumer gets caught in the growing advice gap, so Smarterly provides a way for employees to make smart savings. Michael is an extremely important asset to our business and joins us at such an exciting stage in our growth. He’ll help position Smarterly as a supporter of employers, their employees and workplace savings generally”.
Smarterly was founded by Ben Pollard after trying to buy an ISA for himself and finding the incumbent providers too complicated and confusing. Ben is a qualified actuary who worked as a consultant to FTSE 100 insurance companies specialising in financial risk and capital management.
1Money Advice Service (MAS), September 2016
2Neyber’s DNA of Financial Wellbeing 2018