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Actuary Ben Pollard set up Cushon, a disruptive fintech workplace savings platform and app-first pension provider, following his own frustrating experience of setting up an Individual Savings Account (ISA).

“It was really clear to me that it could and should be a lot easier. The jargon, the drawn-out process. It felt like the buying journey was built more from a compliance perspective than a customer experience point of view. And that was the start of my mission: to make financial services easier and more accessible to everyone. And the start of Cushon.”

Working directly with employers as a route to savers and investors, Cushon focuses on helping employers get their employees more financially resilient.

CEO Ben explains: “The UK has a savings crisis, with millions of people having less than £100 in accessible savings, which means that they are vulnerable to the smallest financial curve ball.”

Cushon provides financial education videos, webinars and one-2-ones to provide employees with tips on anything from how to get on the housing ladder to how they can become more financially resilient”.

Having realised that unnecessary complexity is not limited to personal savings and investment products, Ben and his team brought their successful ISA model to the workplace pensions sector with the aim of improving things for pension members.

In January 2021, Cushon launched the world’s first net zero pension, and as a result its customers are “not only saving for retirement, but they’re also helping tackle climate change”.

In further developments, the fintech company announced its latest investment strategy, due to go live in early 2022, which goes beyond climate change and focuses on impact investing. “We’re investing in projects that not only give our customers good investment returns, but they’re helping to improve society.” Projects include sustainable infrastructure, such as improving access to telecoms and education in low- and middle-income countries, and advanced AgriTech for smallholder farmers.

Cushon’s clients include 190 well-known blue-chip companies and some FTSE 100 companies, which helps to raise the profile of its service and products, while public events keep the brand front of mind, and PR introduces the brand to new audiences.

In a crowded market, Cushon’s differentiator is offering the best financial outcomes for customers whilst doing the best for the world around them. “We’re a fintech that disrupts the status quo – not for the sake of disrupting, but to really improve things for the consumer. We’re focused on making saving accessible and easier for everyone, and to make pensions easier to engage with and more sustainable – we want our customers to be able to retire into a world worth retiring into,” explains Ben.

“We really believe that pensions need to be seen in the context of a customer’s overall finances; pensions in isolation don’t mean a lot to people, especially youngsters. They need to be able to see all their savings in one place. And that’s what we offer; our customers can take out other savings products, not just pensions, so they can save for other life events not just retirement!

The company also empowers customers to influence the way the companies their money is invested in do business by influencing how the fund managers vote at shareholder meetings on ethical issues such as gender equality, animal welfare and climate change – and all through a marketing leading app. “Market research shows customers want to be able to manage their pension and other savings through a convenient app,” says Ben.

And the relationship with McBrides? We provide Cushon with monthly payroll, PSA returns and ad hoc advice. The relationship came about through Ben’s wife Sarah Jane training and qualifying as an accountant with us in early 2000s. “It just shows you what a small world it is,” says Ben.

www.cushon.co.uk

Find out more about our clients here.

McBrides Chartered Accountants