I always say that one of the best things about my day job is that I get to work with some of the most innovative firms in financial services today. And our latest client, Raindrop, is the perfect example.
Raindrop’s on a mission to put flexible pensions in the hands of the UK’s growing army of self-employed.
After securing their initial funding earlier this year, we’ve been supporting them over the last few months as they prepare to launch publicly – and are really excited to be working together to put financial freedom in the hands of a large – and growing – segment of the population.
A growing challenge
According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), there were more than 5 million self-employed people in the UK at the end of 2019. That’s 15.3% of the total workforce – and up a staggering 56% from 2000.
As more people come to crave work-life balance and professional independence, it seems that self-employment is becoming an ever more popular way of earning a living.
But in choosing to go alone, many miss out on one of the major benefits of employment: auto-enrolment into a company pension scheme. A mere 16% of self-employed people contribute to a pension. That’s over 4 million people who are, at best, missing out on significant tax benefits or, at worst, sleepwalking into a retirement fraught with financial insecurity.
So why are so few taking advantage?
Well, they’re busy, for one. The self-employed have enough on their plate as it is without having to endure the hassle of setting up a pension that their employed friends take for granted.
But there’s another reason, too. With an income that’s typically less stable and predictable than employed workers, self-employed folk have often found standard personal pensions a bit too rigid and inflexible. Choosing a standard contribution percentage works fine if your salary is fixed, but what if this month’s income is likely to be totally different to the next?
Raindrop’s designed to cater for that flexibility – helping freelancers or business owners to quickly and easily start, stop and adjust their pension contributions to match the peaks and troughs of their own earnings.
Users can also choose whether to pay from their personal account or through their limited company, to reduce their tax bill. And it all takes less than ten minutes to set up – so that time-poor self-employed professionals needn’t have to sacrifice present day productivity for future security.
A great partnership
Raindrop’s proposition is a great example of the kind we love to support here at Seccl. They’ve honed in on a clearly defined segment, with a proven pain point, and designed an elegant, customer-centric solution to tackle it.
It’s what our clients do best. But in our experience, many innovative firms struggle to then bring their brilliant idea to life – largely because of the high technical and operational barriers to entry associated with running an investment offering. And that’s where our custody, trading and settlement API can help.
“The plug-and-play nature of Seccl’s offering has allowed us to build our proposition and get out in the market far more quickly than we otherwise could have”, says Raindrop co-founder Vivan Shridharani. “Our developers have been able to build on top of the Seccl API with relative ease, and go from idea to execution in a matter of a few months.”
Ours isn’t a product that’s used once or twice a month by a few users within a business – it’s a mission critical service that underpins the proposition our clients are able to offer. It’s for this reason that we tend to think of our clients as business partners rather than merely customers – and we’re thrilled to be able to help them along the way.
A brighter future
The retirement prospects for many in the UK are rocky, to say the least. Too few of us are saving enough to be able to lead the comfortable lives we all dream of after hanging up our boots.
And as the world reels from a global pandemic whose economic consequences we’re barely beginning to understand, that the strain on household finances looks set to worsen.
In this context, innovative tools that help people to plan for their retirement have never been more important. Raindrop, and others like it, are working hard to bring a brighter future for people of all walks of life. And for that, we salute you.
To see more of the innovative firms that we work with, check out some of our recent client spotlights.