Fintech start-up ClearGlass Analytics has closed a £2.6 million ($3.6 million) funding round for its platform, which aims to create greater transparency about fees in the cloud market. long-term savings, such as pensions and the broader asset management market.
The £2.6m round includes European VC Lakestar and Outward VC, as well as several angels from the asset management and pension fund worlds. These include Ruston Smith, a pension trustee; Richard Butcher, President of the PLSA (British professional body responsible for pensions); Chris Wilcox, former global head of JP Morgan Asset Management; and Rob O’Rahilly, Sikander Ilyas and Alex Large, also former JP Morgan employees.
ClearGlass is targeting the mature £1.5trillion “defined benefit” pension market and now claims to work with over 500 DB pension funds. It will use the funding to expand into the UK defined contribution pension market and consolidate its first footprint in Europe and Africa.
How ClearGlass works is that it acts as a data interface between asset managers and their clients. Pension funds then use the platform to see all of their investment costs in one place, getting more data than usual from more asset managers and other providers. This helps funds see the ‘true cost’ of what they are paying for managing their investments. ClearGlass claims to be able to uncover types of asset management costs which in some cases can be more than double those expected.
The startup recently conducted a cost and performance analysis of over 400 asset managers. It found that while most UK asset managers met minimum standards for data provision, quality and accuracy, 30 (including some high-powered players) failed their tests.
The company was founded by Dr. Christopher Sier, a World Bank and FCA expert who previously developed the FCA’s Requested Cost Transparency Standard, and co-founders Ritesh Singhania and Kunal Varma.
Sier, Founder and CEO, said, “Finding out that your costs are so much higher is shocking, but also something to celebrate. These incremental costs have always been there, they just weren’t exposed, and now you can identify them and make changes. You can’t manage what you don’t measure.
In an interview with TechCrunch, Ritesh Singhania, COO, said getting pension fund data is normally “super difficult and complicated. And two, even when you got the data, you couldn’t head or tail it because you can’t compare it across funds. What we did was we were the channel of communication between the manager and the pension fund. So we built a technology that facilitates communication between asset managers and pension funds to be able to collect that data, verify that data. And finally, give them something that doesn’t require them to spend 20 hours to figure it out.
ClearGlass was incubated by the Founders Factory Accelerator.
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