Recent deals

July 2023
Hines Associates advises on the sale of Evolve Pensions to Smart Pension

Hines Associates (“Hines”) is delighted to announce that it advised the shareholders of Evolve Pensions on its sale to Smart Pension
Hines acted as financial adviser to the shareholders of Evolve Pensions Limited’s holding company (“Evolve Pensions”) on its sale to Smart Pension, the UK workplace pensions business of leading London-based fintech, Smart.

Evolve Pensions grew out of the Joint Industry Board’s multi-employer pension scheme for Electrical Contractors, originally established in 1988 and jointly owned by the Electrical Contractors Association and Unite the Union.

The current management team joined the business in 2011 ahead of automatic enrolment and have grown Evolve Pensions into a successful and innovative administrator and operator of the £750m Assets under Management (“AuM”) Crystal Master Trust, one of the first master trusts to incorporate drawdown options after the introduction of Pensions Freedoms in 2015.

In 2022, the management and shareholders of Evolve recognised that it was likely to be in the best interests of the members of the Crystal Master Trust and the staff of Evolve to become part of a larger and better resourced organisation given the increased need both to invest in upgrading technology and to compete successfully in a rapidly consolidating sector.

Hines was engaged by Evolve Pensions’ shareholders to find a suitable home for Evolve Pensions in a way that balanced the objectives of Crystal members, Evolve’s staff and the economic interests of the shareholders. Hines ran an open and transparent process to select Smart Pension as the party which best met these objectives.

Smart Pension brings both scale and technology to Crystal and Evolve, having passed the £3bn AuM mark in May 2023 at the same time that its parent, Smart, completed a US$95m Series E funding round supported inter alia by Aquiline Capital Partners, Chrysalis Investments and Fidelity International Strategic Ventures.

Paul Bannister, Chief Executive Officer of Evolve Pensions said:

“We chose Hines for their understanding of our business and the buyer market having run a similar process for Creative Benefit Solutions in 2022. However, they also showed a keen sensitivity for the needs of our members and staff whilst achieving a good economic result for our shareholders. We are extremely pleased with our new home and look forward to delivering the benefits to members and staff as part of a leading technology provider in the retirement solutions space.”