Chancellor Seeks Pensions Boost for Sluggish Economy

Jeremy Hunt used last night's Mansion House speech to announce a deal with pension funds to invest more in UK companies 

Alliance News 11 July, 2023 | 10:39AM
Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

Jeremy Hunt on podium delivering Mansion House speech

The UK government’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt delivered his first Mansion House speech on Monday, unveiling plans to channel more of the nation’s pension fund cash into UK companies and boost the inflation-battered economy.

Hunt trumpeted a deal with major pension firms to put 5% of investments – or up to £50 billion by 2030 – into high-growth businesses, in turn boosting economic activity and tax revenues that fund public services.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, whose Conservatives are trailing the main opposition Labour party before an election due next year, has vowed to slash inflation to ease a cost-of-living crisis.

The UK economy has been slammed by rising interest rates and stubbornly high inflation, which has eased in recent months but remains close to nine percent.

“I want to ... enable our financial services sector to increase returns for pensioners, improve outcomes for investors and unlock capital for our growth businesses,” Hunt told an audience of finance leaders at London’s Mansion House in the heart of its City financial district.

Hunt added that the UK's pension market was the largest in Europe and worth more than £2.5 trillion.

He wants to make Britain “the most innovative and competitive” financial centre in the world.

The new measures will in particular seek to make the UK stock market more attractive than going elsewhere to firms looking to take their businesses public. We also heard this at the Morningstar Investment Conference.

The number of companies conducting IPOs in London last year plunged to around 40 listings compared to more than 100 in 2021.

The Chancellor also laid out plans for an “entirely new kind of stock market” allowing private companies to access capital markets before they float. And he will look to “simplify our financial services rulebook” to ensure “growth-friendly regulation” without compromising the government’s commitment to stability.

“British growth driven by British financial firepower, providing higher living standards and better-funded public services,” Hunt concluded in Monday’s speech.

“With cooperation between government, regulators and business closer than ever ... we will deliver not just more competitive financial services but a more innovative economy.”

The UK had last year announced measures to stimulate growth in the financial sector, in particular relaxing certain curbs that were introduced after the 2008 global financial crisis.

However, despite post-Brexit reforms, London lost its crown as the top European trading hub following the UK's departure from the EU in early 2021.

The FCA Considers Investment Research Review

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) welcomed the speech and said in a statement that it has already started taking significant steps to support UK capital markets and will continue to do so in the months ahead.

In particular, the regulator will consider the recent recommendations from Rachel Kent’s investment research review, first announced as part of the Edinburgh Reforms announced last December.

The FCA said it plans to immediately engage with market participants. Subject to their feedback, it then intends to consult “on an accelerated timetable” on potential regulatory changes around investment research and charges.

“Pending any regulatory reform, we are open to consider swift actions, if needed, to support firms impacted by changes to regulation in other jurisdictions, based on discussion with individual firms or parts of the market,” it concluded.

The FCA aims to make relevant rules in H1 2024.

The information contained within is for educational and informational purposes ONLY. It is not intended nor should it be considered an invitation or inducement to buy or sell a security or securities noted within nor should it be viewed as a communication intended to persuade or incite you to buy or sell security or securities noted within. Any commentary provided is the opinion of the author and should not be considered a personalised recommendation. The information contained within should not be a person's sole basis for making an investment decision. Please contact your financial professional before making an investment decision.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

About Author

Alliance News  provides Morningstar with continuously updating coverage of news affecting listed companies.

© Copyright 2024 Morningstar, Inc. All rights reserved.

Terms of Use        Privacy Policy        Modern Slavery Statement        Cookie Settings        Disclosures