Britain's Charles warns of pensions misery

17th October 2013, Comments 0 comments

Britain's Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, has urged the pensions industry to bolster itself against looming global turbulence to avoid generations being consigned to a miserable future.

Charles told investors they had a responsibility to make sure their business was sustainable amid high levels of debt, a rapidly growing world population and climate change.

The prince's remarks came in a speech recorded in July and screened at the National Association of Pension Funds' annual conference in Manchester, northwest England, on Wednesday.

"We live in increasingly uncertain times," Charles said.

"We are facing what could be described as a perfect storm," citing pollution, dwindling resources, climate change "unprecedented levels of financial indebtedness" and a rising population that the world is already struggling to feed.

"You have a need -- and arguably a duty -- to ensure that these emerging environmental, social and economic risks are identified and managed."

The NAPF, which represents a variety of pension schemes, say their members have combined assets of nearly £900 billion ($1.45 trillion, 1.06 trillion euros).

Charles, who turns 65 next month, is used to voicing his views on subjects like architecture, faith, urban deprivation, farming and the environment, and his speech to the NAPF was a rare foray into the pensions industry.

"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 asked.

"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 21st and not the 19th 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."

The state pension age is now 68.

Someone retiring in Britain at 65 is forecast to live until 84, The Times newspaper reported, while a quarter of all children are expected to live beyond 100.


© 2013 AFP

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