Prince Charles in warning over pensions

Prince CharlesThe Prince of Wales has warned the pensions industry to ditch its short-term outlook or risk condemning future generations to a "miserable future".

Charles told investors they had responsibility to create a sustainable financial system during the gathering economic storm created by unprecedented levels of debt, a rapidly growing world population and climate change.
In a pre-recorded speech to the National Association of Pension Funds' annual conference, Charles said: "With an ageing population, and pension fund liabilities that are therefore stretching out for many decades, surely the current focus on 'quarterly capitalism' is becoming increasingly unfit for purpose?"

He added: "Your sector plays a very significant role indeed in how our economic system works, both now and in the future. So it really does fall to you, I am afraid, to help shape a system designed for the twenty-first and not the nineteenth century.

"Make that innovative and imaginary leap that the world so badly needs, otherwise your grandchildren, and mine for that matter, will be consigned to an exceptionally miserable future."

Although he is known for his views on the environment, it is a rare for the Prince, who turns 65 next month, to comment on financial matters.

Business Secretary Vince Cable has already criticised traders in equities markets for going after a "quick buck" rather than looking for sustainable returns through responsible capitalism.

An Office of Fair Trading report published earlier this month warned that up to £40 billion of pension savings could already be in schemes which are delivering poor value or are at risk of doing so.

Less than half the population is currently thought to be putting enough money aside for retirement.

Office for National Statistics figures recently showed that the number of private sector workers saving into a company pension fell to an all-time low, since records began in 1953, of 2.7 million last year.

The peak for private sector pension saving was in 1967, when 8.1 million people were saving into a pension.
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