Prince Charles Warns Of Pensions Crisis
The Prince of Wales has warned the pensions industry to ditch its short-term outlook or risk condemning many people to a "miserable future".
Prince Charles told investors they had a responsibility to create a sustainable financial system during the economic storm created by unprecedented levels of debt, a rapidly growing world population and climate change.
In a pre-recorded speech to the National Association of Pension Funds' annual conference, he said: "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?
"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."
Although he is known for his views on the environment and sustainability, it is rare for the Prince, who turns 65 next month, to comment on financial matters.
He has held private meetings with cabinet ministers in the past to address policy concerns.
Sky's Royal Correspondent Paul Harrison said: "It is not common for him to get involved in these kinds of issues.
"He's looked at sustainability over many years, but has never really vocalised as publicly as this."
David Paterson, from the National Association of Pension Funds, told Sky News: "It is a long-term game we are playing here, and Prince Charles has after all been talking about these issues for a long time.
"It will be some time before the results of what he's been talking about and what we're now talking about are seen to bear fruit."
Business Secretary Vince Cable has already criticised traders in equities markets for going after a "quick buck" rather than looking for sustainable returns through responsible capitalism.
An Office of Fair Trading report published earlier this month warned that up to £40bn of pension savings could already be in schemes which are delivering poor value or are at risk of doing so.
Less than half the population is currently thought to be putting enough money aside for retirement.
Office for National Statistics figures recently showed the number of private sector workers saving into a company pension fell to an all-time low, since records began in 1953, of 2.7 million last year.
The peak for private sector pension saving was in 1967, when 8.1 million people were saving into a pension.