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The risky surge of pension nationalism

In a recent announcement, Britain’s new chancellor, Rachel Reeves, expressed her concerns about the country’s fiscal situation, stating that it is the worst since the second world war. While this may seem like an exaggeration, the challenges ahead are indeed significant. To combat the financial squeeze, Ms Reeves is turning to Britain’s retirement savings for support.

On July 8th, Ms Reeves revealed her intentions to utilize the country’s pension funds to drive investment in domestic businesses, with the goal of providing greater returns to pension savers. While specific details of her plans are yet to be unveiled, her predecessor, Jeremy Hunt, had already started the process by requiring defined-contribution pension funds to disclose their levels of domestic investments by 2027.

This move towards encouraging pension funds to invest more in local assets is not unique to Britain. Other countries are also exploring similar strategies. For instance, Stephen Poloz, a former governor of the Bank of Canada, is currently examining ways to boost pension-fund investments in domestic assets on behalf of the Canadian government. Meanwhile, Enrico Letta, a former Italian prime minister, has advocated for an EU-wide auto-enrolment pension scheme that could be directed towards green transportation and energy infrastructure projects.

As the global economy continues to face challenges, governments are increasingly looking towards pension funds as a potential source of investment capital. By leveraging retirement savings to support domestic businesses and infrastructure projects, countries hope to stimulate economic growth and provide better returns for pension savers.

While the specifics of Rachel Reeves’s plans are still under wraps, the focus on utilizing pension funds for driving investment in local businesses is a promising step towards addressing the current fiscal challenges facing Britain. With other countries also exploring similar strategies, it will be interesting to see how these initiatives unfold and the impact they have on both pension savers and the broader economy.

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