A new fully digital, flexible and smart pension platform, designed specifically for self-employed workers, has officially launched today.

In a major first for nearly five million self-employed UK workers, Raindrop is a brand new, standalone, unique solution, bringing together all the crucial aspects of a pension into one platform designed for the specific needs of the self-employed. The fully digital, fully flexible, and secure solution ensures that even more of the workforce can avail of the government’s 25% tax top-up.

Operating as an appointed representative of an FCA regulated principal and supported by access to funds of global investment manager BlackRock, the Raindrop platform was developed by seasoned city professionals and tech entrepreneurs Marco Ross, Phil Fortio, Raul Tudor and Vivan Shridharani.

Sweeping the competition aside, the founders pinpointed a major gap in the market for a bespoke digital and flexible pension solution which brings all the crucial elements needed by self-employed workers into one easy-to-use platform – and raised significant investment capital to ensure it gets to market.

The Raindrop leadership team is also advised by renowned UK pensions industry expert, Raj Mody, and financial technology adviser, Nic Lenz.

A major tech and financial development for 2021, Raindrop offers investment options which empower users to choose a pension plan carefully designed to be invested in a way that meets their desired retirement date.

In addition, Raindrop provides a unique pension AI bot service which can assist with finding old pensions, even for customers with minimal information on their old plans. Through the pension bot service customers can find the old plans and consolidate them into one pot, although they are under no obligation to do so.

Raindrop Chief Executive, Marco Ross, said:

“Self-employed workers have long been forgotten when it comes to the current and complex pensions landscape. We know that there are many barriers for people in saving for their future and few solutions that solve them, until now. We also know from recent research that the pandemic has had a big impact on the ability of self-employed people to save and they want to do so flexibly.”

“Raindrop goes much further than what is currently available in that it has been developed specifically for the millions of self-employed workers across the country, but also provides one easy-to-use platform to empower them to plan and save for their retirement in a way that suits their circumstances. Future financial planning has never been more important, but it has also never been easier with Raindrop.”

The new platform can be set up in less than ten minutes and allows millions of savers who are self-employed, but who have been left out of benefits of auto-enrolment, to directly invest in a pension in a way that suits them.

A recent report published by the UK government-backed pension scheme, Nest, revealed that more than 80% of self-employed workers had no pension – yet three quarters of those polled still wanted to set aside money for their future. Further research shows that 57% of self-employed people like the idea of being able to automatically, but flexibly, divert a proportion of their income into a pension.

While the mandatory introduction of auto-enrolment from 2012 helped to gradually boost pension savings for payroll workers, self-employed workers were left out, with many unclear about where to start.

Chief Product Officer, Philip Fortio, said the new platform would transform pension provision for a new generation.

“Raindrop is flexible, secure and smart and works for every freelance or self-employed worker, from accountants and plumbers to architects and vets. As well as bringing together all the important aspects of pensions for self-employed people into one, easy solution, Raindrop empowers people to pick a pension plan based on the date they want to retire.”

Savers also have the option to flexibly adapt their pension payments whenever they want, opting for regular or one-off payments, or even pausing contributions.

“I was self-employed for almost a decade and know first-hand how complicated and difficult to navigate the pensions landscape can be, which is why accessibility is such an important aspect for us at Raindrop. With Raindrop, setting up a pension can be much quicker and even easier than tackling your online shopping, giving you all the flexibility and choice you need at your fingertips, and has the potential to transform the financial futures of millions of people across the country.” the company’s Chief Technology Officer Raul Tudor said.

The technology also uses a range of already well-established investment options from investment manager BlackRock to ensure consumers can be confident that their money is appropriately protected.

Vivan Shridharani, Raindrop’s Chief Commercial Officer, spoke about the company’s ambitions:

“We’ve had excellent feedback from customers who have already used Raindrop as part of our testing and development. As well as appreciating the flexibility and automated features, they know that their investment is secure. We’re also in the process of developing a series of educational resources and building new partnerships with other organisations so our customers have access to an even wider range of expertise and support.”