Study into pension funds sets out agenda for "alternative" local investment

  • Study shows local authority pension schemes should invest in local capital projects that offer socio-economic benefits.

    A new study by the Smith Institute calls on local authorities, Government and the pension fund industry to boost the sector by blending and pooling funds, reforming the rules on management and investment of funds, and establishing an independent platform to asses the value of projects.

    The report by the Smith Institute who worked along side the Centre for Local Economic Strategies, PIRC, and the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum, finds that the affect that the recession and persistent credit squeeze has had on the prospects of the private, public and social sectors has prompted a rethink about the best ways to invest, and the need to find new sources of finance.

    Pension funds, including those of local authorities, have been looked at as a vital way to boost the UKs infrastructure and start capital projects through investments. Local authority pension funds have assets of more than £120 billion, and already invest in the UK. But the report believes that they can do more to invest for wider economic and social benefit.

    The study shows that there are positive signs of change from the changes to investment into local growth, in particular with the local authority pension funds, and the theory of improvement if there is a larger scale investment.

    Neil McInroy, CEO at the Centre for Local economic Strategies said:

    This report provides clarity for the local government family and highlights the need for better dialogue between local enterprise partnership, local government and pension funds. We need more market responsive and ready investable opportunities.

    A new government backed agency as well as shared local pension fund vehicles for the pooling of impact investment funds, are significant options in this regard.

    View full report by The Smith Institute

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