Forum to plot means of mobilising sector’s financial muscle

Insurers have welcomed Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne’s move to mobilise the sector’s financial muscle for investment in the UK’s creaking infrastructure.

Commenting on the National Infrastructure Plan, which was unveiled in yesterday’s autumn spending statement, ABI director general Otto Thoresen said: “The bond markets are a huge untapped source of finance and insurers have long been keen to find a way to channel more of the investments they manage into UK projects to help the economy fight its way back to growth. However, without action from Government we would be fighting with one hand tied behind our backs.

“We want to work with the Government to create a new asset class of infrastructure bonds which could see insurers investing in everything from railways to new hospitals. But we must remember insurance and pension funds are investing money people have saved or paid in to protect themselves.

“Fund managers have a responsibility to make sure the investments they choose deliver for these savers over the long term. That is why we are pleased that the Government has agreed to set up an Insurers’ Infrastructure Investment Forum, which will have ministerial involvement, where we can work together to make sure that the bonds are attractive to a wide set of funds and that regulatory and economic barriers are tackled quickly to make real, significant investment for growth a reality.”