Smart names prominent industry executives to US board of directors

Former LGIM CEO and J.P. Morgan’s Former Head of Retirement Solutions join Smart founders and US CEO to form inaugural US board of directors.

Smart has today announced its first US Board of Directors. The Board consists of prominent industry leaders Mark Zinkula and Anne Lester, alongside Smart co-founders Andrew Evans and Will Wynne, and Smart US CEO Jodan Ledford. The board will provide strategic guidance as Smart launches its modern recordkeeping and retirement income solutions into the US market.

Smart is focused on improving access to retirement savings, incorporating intelligent solutions for both savings and retirement income, with the aim of maximizing outcomes for individuals as they both save for and enjoy retirement.  Smart's recordkeeping solution is geared towards pooled solutions, including Pooled Employer Plans (“PEPs”), and focused on providing access to retirement savings plans for the millions of Americans who do not participate presently.

The newly appointed Board members include:

Mark Zinkula, Chairperson: Most recently, Mark served as CEO of Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM), a role he held from 2011 to 2019. During Mark’s tenure, LGIM was one of the fastest growing asset managers globally as assets under management (AUM) tripled to over $1.5 trillion, including a significant expansion across the US, Europe and Asia.  He positioned LGIM to become the largest manager in both the UK defined benefit pension market, with over 30% market share, and the UK defined contribution pension market, with over 20% market share. Mark also established LGIM as a global leader in responsible investing, developing widely recognized innovative ESG investment solutions, as well as an industry-leading corporate governance team.

Anne Lester, Non-Executive Director: Most recently, Anne served as portfolio manager and Head of Retirement Solutions for Global Asset Management Solutions at J.P. Morgan. Anne developed J.P. Morgan’s SmartRetirement target-date funds and their post retirement SmartSpending funds. She previously served on the board of Smart Pension. Anne, who joined J.P. Morgan in 1992, spent over a decade managing Public, Private, and Multi-Employer Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution plan assets before focusing exclusively on Defined Contribution research, product development, and management.

Andrew Evans, Group Chief Executive and Co-Founder, Smart:  Andrew co-founded Smart to give real people simpler ways to save and access their savings throughout their lives. Previously, Andrew was an international managing director at Lloyds Banking Group, and held roles with other banking and financial institutions such as Barclays. He also works with cutting edge innovation foundations – awarding funding and offering advice to promising UK fintech companies and social entrepreneurs.

Will Wynne, Group Managing Director and Co-Founder, Smart:  After beginning his career in private equity, Will joined the digital team at eBay UK as one of the company's first UK employees. During his three years there, eBay UK grew from 3m members to 18m, and acquired PayPal, Skype, and Gumtree. Whilst at eBay, Will initiated and led the eBay for Charity project, raising many 100s of millions for charity in the process. Will then went on to found one of the UK's most disruptive ecommerce businesses. This profitable, innovative business has taken 25% market share in its market segment and is still growing. Will co-founded Smart in 2014.

Jodan Ledford, US CEO, Smart: Before joining Smart, Jodan was the Chief Client Officer at Legal & General Investment Management America (LGIMA), where he oversaw a team of 75-plus spanning Sales, Marketing, Investment Solutions, Product & Corporate Strategy, as well as Multi-Asset Portfolio Management. Joining LGIMA shortly after their US market entry, Jodan led LGIMA’s growth in the US market from $10 billion to $130 billion in US third-party clients over 7 years. In addition to leading those areas of the firm, Jodan was focused on designing LGIMA’s US DC entry strategy, including implementation of an innovative retirement income solution. Jodan was a director on the LGIMA and US Holdings board. Prior to LGIMA, Jodan held positions at UBS Global Asset Management, J.P. Morgan’s Investment Banking Division and Watson Wyatt Worldwide.

Jodan Ledford, US CEO of Smart, commented: 

“We are honored that Mark and Anne have given their time to Smart. We are at a pivotal point in US policy that will shape the future of retirement, and to have their expertise supporting Smart’s mission is huge.
“Having only launched last October, we’ve been humbled by the traction we’ve already seen and how the US market has welcomed us with open arms, and we look forward to forging ahead together for the benefit of American employees and retirees.”

Mark Zinkula, Smart US Board Chairperson and former CEO of Legal & General Investment Management, commented:

“Smart has chosen the perfect moment to enter the US and lead,”“Their experience across numerous markets will prove invaluable to the retirement technology industry in this country, and I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to work with them in this capacity.”

Anne Lester, Smart US Board Director and former Head of Retirement Solutions at JPMorgan Asset Management, said:

“Smart’s innovative technology platform will help many more companies offer retirement plans to their workers, at a lower cost than is possible today. I’m excited to be helping a company that is focused on improving access for millions of American who are currently locked out of the system.”

About Smart

Smart is a global savings and investments technology provider. Its mission is to transform retirement, savings, and financial well-being, across all generations, around the world.

Smart partners with financial institutions (including broker-dealers, RIAs, retirement providers, insurers, asset managers, banks) and financial advisers to deliver retirement savings and income solutions that are digital, customized, and cost-efficient.

Smart, founded in the UK, operates in the USA, Europe, Australia, and the Middle East with over a million savers and over $5 billion in assets. Smart saw over 2,000% growth in assets on its platform since 2018.

Legal & General, J.P. Morgan, Fidelity International Strategic Ventures, Link Group, Barclays, Natixis Investment Managers, Chrysalis Investments, DWS Group and Aquiline Capital Partners are all investors to date in Smart.

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Media contact for Smart:

Maria Stenina
VP of Promotions Marketing – US