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UK regulators to look at barriers to long-term investment

FILE PHOTO: The Bank of England and Royal Exchange are reflected in a puddle as a pedestrian walks past, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in London, Britain, November 19, 2020. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

LONDON (Reuters) - The Bank of England said it would ask the finance industry and business how best to promote long-term investment, as part of a review into how to boost economic productivity once Britain emerges from the coronavirus pandemic.

A working group - run jointly with the finance ministry and the Financial Conduct Authority - will ask banks, investment firms, infrastructure companies and others how to aid investment in green technology, plant and equipment, and research.

“The working group’s mandate will be to agree the necessary foundations that could be implemented by firms and investment platforms, to facilitate investment in long-term assets by a wide range of investors,” the BoE said.

Concerns about low business investment have been around for years in Britain, and intensified after the last financial crisis when slower productivity growth became more visible.

The new working group follows other reviews into long-term investment in 2016 and 2019, and the BoE said it was intended to propose a roadmap of future actions.

BoE Governor Andrew Bailey said in a speech on Tuesday that financing green technology would “require investment on a much larger scale than we have seen in recent years”, and that he would review whether regulation limited this unnecessarily.

One question on the table is whether British private pension funds should be encouraged to invest more in illiquid, long-term infrastructure projects, and whether this can be done without reducing protection for investors.

Reporting by David Milliken; editing by Stephen Addison

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