Jeremy Hunt, Chancellor of Exchequer, has told the pensions sector that it must push forward with reforms. The government is putting final touches on further measures which will be announced next month in the Autumn Statement.
Hunt, who spoke at a City of London conference on Wednesday, said that “no changes is not an alternative” to some reforms currently being discussed by politicians and the industry.
Hunt stated, “We must recognize that we do not save enough money and we don’t get the best return in terms of benchmarks internationally.” “We have to step up our game.”
This led to the “Mansion House a data-component this summer, where a group of pension providers agreed to allocate 5% of funds to growth assets. This led to the “Mansion House compact”, where pension providers agreed to dedicate 5% of their funds to growth assets.
The plans caused backlash in the pensions sector, with concerns ranging from the riskiness in investing in non-listed assets to the difficulty of consolidating funds.
Hunt stated that the proposals would likely be included in the Autumn Statement. He said that trustees would not be forced to take a particular direction, but they could choose to merge, co-invest in larger pools, or sell pensions savings to insurance specialists through “buyout” transactions.
Hunt stated that trustees should consider more than low fees when deciding on their fee structure. The “overly restrictive regulatory structures” that have directed trustees towards “overly caution” are part of the problem.
Hunt stated that a closer partnership between pensions and venture capital investors is required. Infrastructure also offers opportunities, but lessons must be learned from HS2, whose Birmingham-Manchester high-speed segment was cancelled by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak due to spiraling cost.
Hunt stated that there was a lack of understanding about costs and the project at one time included plans for air-conditioned platforms. Hunt said, “We’ll get it right,” and pointed to rail projects and other transportation projects that were planned to replace the project.
According to Hunt, the next month’s policy announcement will include details about how the British Business Bank, a government-owned institution, oversees investment in growth companies.
It had reported earlier that Treasury was considering copying Canada’s Growth Fund, using taxpayers’ money as seed financing. The Treasury is considering copying Canada’s growth fund, using taxpayers’ money as seed funding.
Nicholas Lyons, Lord Mayor of London, who hosted the event, announced that he will push forward plans for a startup fund, which was also a topic of discussion in the industry over the last year. Lyons will step down as Lord Mayor in the next month, and return to his job as Chairman of Phoenix Group Holdings Plc, one of UK’s largest pension providers.
Serkan Bektas is the head of Insight Investment’s client solutions. He said that he believed pension reforms can be resolved despite what seemed to be irreconcilable problems. “We believe there is a way to win-win-win for pension fund members, corporate sponsors and the UK’s economy.”