Stagecoach billionaire founder calls for softening of pension investment restrictions

Oliver Gill
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Sir Brian Souter is the founder of Stagecoach and the head of Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (Source: Getty)

Britain's pension schemes should be unshackled and allowed to invest in growing the nation's businesses, billionaire businessman and accountancy institute boss Sir Brian Souter has urged.

There is a growing acceptance that pension funds are "not being efficiently invested in ways that encourage enterprise and employment".

“You might expect our pension schemes to be investing heavily in businesses and growth for the future, but they’re not," said Stagecoach founder Souter.

“We have record levels of investment into pension schemes, and we have amongst the best-funded pension arrangements in Europe, so why do we have an apparently ever-growing pensions black hole?”

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Souter said pension funds invest too much of their cash in government gilts and bonds. On behalf of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) he is today calling for a national debate on the topic.

This really matters to every one of us. Pension scheme investments should be seen as a huge national asset, capable of being invested in ways that can provide benefit across the generations.

There is a belief that the pensions of the past are just not affordable for the next generation.

He continued: “But by reversing the recent trends towards gilts and bonds, we can break the current cycle of unaffordable funding and provide the same level of security for future generations that today’s pensioners enjoy.”

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