Recovery plan

L&G chief calls for pension funds to invest in housing

Stewart Milne

Housebuilding needs to increase, says L&G boss

Chief executive Legal & General Nigel Wilson says pension providers should divert funds into tackling Britain’s housing shortage and helping to rebuild infrastructure.

Mr Wilson said the investments industry has billions of pounds stashed in funds that could help regenerate the economy.

Wilson said not enough houses were being built across the country. “We will see in the next financial year that places will get co-investments directly from pension funds to try to get some of this scaled up meaningfully,” he told the Mail on Sunday.

His comments come after Chancellor Rishi Sunak revealed in the Budget that the Government will review rules to give pension providers a greater choice of investments to kickstart the economy.

The review could make it easier for them to put money into the redevelopment of affordable homes. It could also ease the way for them to offer financial boosts to technology start-ups.

Mr Wilson pointed out that infrastructure and housing projects offer enticing returns over the long term compared to bonds. The yield on ten-year UK Government bonds is less than 1 per cent.

He said more pension funds and insurers need to get involved if there is to be a real impact on rebuilding local economies.

Earlier this year Andy Briggs, chief executive of Edinburgh-based Phoenix, the UK’s largest retirement business, said there should be changes to rules that make it easier for pensions to invest in a broader range of assets, offering better returns to retirees.

L&G, which manages about £1.3 trillion for savers, companies and retirees globally, has already backed a number of projects across the country.

It has invested about £1.5billion since the first lockdown in March last year, creating about 30,000 jobs in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff and Sheffield.

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