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‘Expert panel’ assembled to drive pension funds into startups

startups pension
Image credit: Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street / Flickr

An “expert panel” featuring figures from NEST, IQ Capital and Legal & General has been created to support reforms geared towards driving pension funds into startups.

The panel, which has been assembled by the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (BVCA), will look at the structural and technical issues related to enforcing pension reforms.

Last year, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced the Mansion House reforms to spur more investment into UK businesses with funds from pension providers.

The project received significant support from startups, pension providers, private equity firms and VCs.

The new panel, chaired by IQ Capital managing partner Kerry Baldwin, has been tasked with determining the associated challenges of the plan and the best approaches for resolving them.

The panel is expected to publish a report in the autumn before providing its final recommendations to the government.

“I’m looking forward to working with colleagues in the pensions industry to understand how we can ensure UK savers can enjoy returns and investment diversification generated by backing promising homegrown businesses,” said Baldwin.

“We will thoroughly explore how pension funds in other countries have been able to invest in UK funds successfully and get to the bottom of the technical and structural issues which hold back investment by UK pension funds in venture capital and growth equity-backed firms.”

Policymakers often highlight how the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan is a notable beneficiary of investing in UK businesses.

The panel has been endorsed by the chancellor, who said it showed there is “real momentum behind our Mansion House reforms”.

Hunt added: “Seeing industry leaders from our pension funds and growth investors come together to tackle the barriers to greater private investment is good for savers and good for business, and I look forward to seeing the results of the panel’s work.”

Other members of the panel include Virginia Holmes, the chair of the Unilever UK pension fund, Camilla Richards, head of investor relations at Atomico, and Andy Gregory, CEO of the Business Growth Fund.

Last week, the British Business Bank – a government-backed development bank – said it would launch a growth fund to deploy around £600m of pension capital into SMEs.