Sir John Bell, a drugs industry veteran who was behind the government’s life sciences vision, is calling for pension schemes to be bundled together to create about five “really big” superfunds to invest in sectors including science and technology.
Bell, 70, regius professor of medicine at the University of Oxford, said it would help Britain to retain and list companies and to fix a risk-averse, “completely dysfunctional” pension system and the London Stock Exchange, which had “largely fallen off a cliff”.
A Treasury consultation ends next week on establishing new investment vehicles to “crowd in” investment from defined contribution pension funds to science and technology companies.
Last week, Jeremy Hunt indicated his support, saying on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund’s spring meetings in Washington that “we do need to see consolidation” to improve low returns and that pension fund reform was “the big reform that now needs to happen”.
The consultation was launched in the budget last month and the findings are due to be outlined at the autumn statement. It comes amid concern over companies turning to the United States to list and access deeper capital.