Legal & General chief pledges to invest more in infrastructure

Marion Dakers
LEGAL & General has earmarked billions of pounds to invest in British infrastructure over the next decade, in a boost for the government as it tries to sign up private sector funders for big construction projects.

The insurance and pensions giant confirmed yesterday that it hopes to put as much as £15bn of its £441bn assets under management into infrastructure, up from the £3bn it has currently tied up in the sector.

“In the next 10 years it will be the insurers and pension funds that will be funding UK infrastructure investments, rather than the banks,” chief executive Nigel Wilson told the Sunday Telegraph. “We need more long-term capital in the economy and less short-term banking. We see companies like ourselves playing a bigger role in that.”

L&G is among the big investors talking to the Treasury about putting money into the projects singled out by the department’s national infrastructure plan.

The roadmap for big road, rail and property developments in 2010 set out a pipeline of projects costing £310bn, with almost two-thirds of the bill expected to be met by private sector funders and quasi-private bodies such as Network Rail.

However, some MPs and business groups have criticised the plan for a lack of detail and delays in getting many of the projects off the ground.

The Treasury did not respond to requests for comment yesterday.