With the acquisition of fairr on Tuesday, German savings and investment startup Raisin is adding pensions to its financial product toolkit. Fairr adds a new component to the company’s financial “cockpit” approach to money management, as well as a technology and team boost for Raisin as it moves into new product areas. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Founded in 2013, fairr is a German digital pension provider covering pension schemes such as Riester, for customers paying German income or wage taxes and contributing to the country’s public retirement insurance program; Rürup, the German state program for the self-employed, freelancers and high-income earners; and company programs. The acquisition closely aligns with Raisin’s broader vision to maximize choice and transparency of financial product offerings, providing access to Europe’s $13.3 trillion (€12 trillion) pension and savings market. Through it, Raisin rounds out its digital marketplace to include savings, investments and pension products with one sign-on.
“[Fairr] is digital, extremely low-cost and flexible,” Raisin CEO Tamaz Georgadze told Bank Innovation. “You have a cockpit for your pension, where you can actually see how much money you have — a combination of the state subsidy, account performance and so on, as well as your pay in — which I think almost no provider in Germany has.” Fairr’s business model is direct-to-consumer as well as business-to-business.
Fairr adds to the range of offerings for Raisin’s 200,000 customers, and fairr’s three founders will take leading roles in Raisin’s newly formed investments and pension products division. Fairr’s other employees also will join Raisin.
Asked whether the fairr acquisition had any implications for Raisin’s U.S. expansion plans, Georgadze said there was no link beyond an evolution of its marketplace approach to financial products. “The only implication is in terms of our thinking,” he noted. “It’s very clear we think ourselves as the financial hub, which has a market product in the middle to long term. ”
Wally Okby, senior analyst at Aite Group’s wealth management practice, said the acquisition is a means to help Raisin grow its digital platform. This is because fairr was doing in the pension market what Raisin was doing in the savings and investment product sphere, he added.
The longer-term objective, Okby noted, may be to draw more German millennial and Generation Z customers into Raisin’s bigger family of products as they begin to invest more aggressively than previous generations that were entirely dependent on state pensions at retirement age. “The acquisition is really looking at the demographic shifts in Germany and the wealth transfer underway, and capitalizing on the fact that younger people will have to take additional risk in their investments if they seek to [have] a meaningful retirement income,” he said.
This marks Raisin’s second acquisition this year, following its purchase of MHB Bank in March. Raisin has raised $220 million so far, including a $28 million investment from Goldman Sachs in July. It has relationships with 80 banks and plans to expand to the U.S. market next year.
“We’re very passionate about the two sides of our marketplace,” chief operating officer Michael Stephan said in a recent interview with Bank Innovation. “We want to make it very easy for [the consumer] to pick and choose, as well as manage, the savings products. We don’t provide a lead out to another bank; we give customer one access point to accounts at a lot of banks.”