Interactive Investor

Proposals to diversify pension investments published

30th March 2022 11:54

Rebecca O'Connor from interactive investor

In theory, the government measures should boost retirement outcomes, says our head of pensions and savings.

The government this morning published proposals to help pension schemes boost investment diversity.

Becky O’Connor, Head of Pensions and Savings, interactive investor, said: “What our pensions are invested in may not preoccupy our daily thoughts, but it can have a huge impact on our eventual standard of living in retirement and even whether a pension is enough to retire on at all.

“So while a policy to boost investment diversity might not bear obvious relevance to our individual retirement plans – it is important. The government proposal to make it easier for schemes to invest in ‘illiquid’ assets (those that cannot easily be sold) ‘if trustees deem it in members’ interests’, is a key caveat to the proposals. Any changes should be made with the individual interests of millions of savers who could be affected as the top priority and any objectives to boost capital investment for the UK economy second.

“In theory, these measures should boost retirement outcomes. Boosting long-term capital investment in low-carbon infrastructure is the ideal preserve of pension funds which can take ultra-long-term views on what to invest in, because they invest over many decades.

“However there is also room for error with these plans, if, for example, any increase in charges to cover the higher costs of more esoteric investments is not eventually met with higher returns from unlocking these new investment opportunities.

“It may be very hard for individual pension investors to tell if any extra charges they are paying – if they are aware of them at all – are leading to higher growth for them.

“The proposals do offer an opportunity for more understanding and engagement with pension investments among members - the idea that someone’s pension pot is also building a low-carbon future, as well as generating growth, is inherently appealing. But that message will only land and encourage people to prioritise pension saving if pension schemes make the most of this chance to build communication with their customers.

“The government may hope its ‘disclose and explain’ suggested approach will ‘bring greater transparency, consistency and encourage further competition based on overall value’. However this could be wishful thinking.”

These articles are provided for information purposes only.  Occasionally, an opinion about whether to buy or sell a specific investment may be provided by third parties.  The content is not intended to be a personal recommendation to buy or sell any financial instrument or product, or to adopt any investment strategy as it is not provided based on an assessment of your investing knowledge and experience, your financial situation or your investment objectives. The value of your investments, and the income derived from them, may go down as well as up. You may not get back all the money that you invest. The investments referred to in this article may not be suitable for all investors, and if in doubt, an investor should seek advice from a qualified investment adviser.

Full performance can be found on the company or index summary page on the interactive investor website. Simply click on the company's or index name highlighted in the article.