Recent deals

January 2022
Sale of Creative Benefit Solutions to Cushon

Hines Associates (“Hines”) is delighted to announce that it advised the shareholders of Creative Benefit Solutions (“Creative”) on its sale to workplace savings fintech Cushon

Creative is an entrepreneurial Employee Benefits Group established in 2008 with a mission to provide innovative solutions and high levels of service to the UK’s SME community. In 2013, Creative developed an effective auto enrolment compliance solution for employers, which it followed in 2015 with a master trust, Creative Pension Trust,  providing an intuitive, consumer-friendly workplace pension scheme for the SME marketplace.

Cushon is a well-known innovator in the workplace savings and pensions market. Recently it has led the consolidation of the master trust sector, with Creative marking its third such acquisition in two years doubling Cushon’s total assets under management (including ISA savings) to over £1.7 billion across 400,000 customers.

By joining forces, Creative and Cushon will allow employers and customers to benefit from a wider workplace offering, innovative technology, and a shared passion for providing access to sustainable investments which further the net-zero agenda.

Hines acted as exclusive financial adviser to Creative Benefit Solutions. We have been working with Creative for over a year to refine the company’s value drivers and identify actions that would make Creative more attractive to the market.

As a profitable independent company in a consolidating sector, Hines advised Creative on its response to approaches. Hines designed a sale process that optimised value for the shareholders, while also securing a new owner who would value what the Creative team had built over the past decade, giving opportunities for management and employees to continue to work towards Creative and Cushon’s shared vision.

Hines’ role included:

  • Working with Creative for over a year prior to the sale to Cushon to refine its strategy
  • Advise on the separation of its chartered financial planning subsidiary and identify potential solutions
  • Advising the shareholders on approaches and eventually on sale strategy and tactics
  • Assisting in the selection of potential investors and running an accelerated, competitive process
  • Preparation of sales materials and working with management throughout the diligence and legal documentation process.

David White, Managing Director of master trust subsidiary Creative Auto Enrolment, said:
“We appointed Hines as we could be confident that they would take the time to invest in understanding our business. They gave us informed, unbiased and often unfiltered advice as to where we should focus our efforts to be most attractive to the market as and when the Creative team decided to engage. We have worked as a seamless team over the past year to achieve that objective successfully.”