UK roundup: Use artificial intelligence gains to halt state pension age hike, say unions
Economic gains from digitisation, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) should be shared with working people, for example by stopping planned increases to the state pension age, according to the Trades Union Congress (TUC).
It said the income gains from higher productivity could be used to make such a shift possible.
In July, the UK government announced the state pension age will increase to 68 between 2037 and 2039. This is seven years earlier than was planned.
In a report, ‘Shaping Our Digital Future’, the TUC said the government was suggesting it would save 0.3% of GDP by 2066/67 by bringing forward increases in the state pension age to 68 for those now in their forties.
“Estimate of the productivity gain from artificial intelligence dwarf that figure, with PwC suggesting a 10% boost to GDP by 2030 as a result of AI,” added the TUC.
“If we do see those benefits arrive, reversing increases in the state pension age and enabling more people to enjoy a decent retirement should be a priority.”
Government, business and trade unions must work together to mitigate disruption to working people’s lives from technological innovation, said the TUC.
It estimated that two-thirds of the 2030 workforce was already in work today.
More backing for LGPS cost code
Royal London has become the latest asset manager to sign up to the local government pension scheme’s (LGPS) cost disclosure code.
Royal London Asset Management said it manages over £3.6bn on behalf of 50 local authorities, including 14 LGPS funds.
Some 15 asset managers have signed up to the voluntary code, according to the LGPS Advisory Board website.
The code provides a template for asset managers to break down their fees and disclose aspects such as transaction costs.
The LGPS Advisory Board is searching for a provider to collect and analyse data it receives via use of the costs template.
UK companies scale back quarterly reporting
The number of FTSE 100 companies issuing quarterly reports since October 2016 has fallen by 19%, with a drop of 25% among FTSE 250 mid-cap companies, according to the Investment Management Association (IA).
Over 40% of the 100 largest UK-listed companies no longer issue quarterly reports to shareholders, and over 60% of FTSE 250 companies, it said.
The IA issued a call for companies to stop quarterly reporting last October, to discourage them from engaging in short-term behaviour and instead “refocus their reporting on the long-term strategic drivers of value creation in their businesses”.
Commenting on the drop in quarterly reporting, the IA said its call was being heeded.
The call was in line with the trade body’s March 2016 action plan to boost productivity in the UK.
The IA said it had completed over half of the recommendations it had set out in the action plan and that it is on track to complete the remaining actions by 2019.
Jobs still on its agenda include working with the Pensions Regulator, the Pensions Lifetime & Savings Association and investment consultants to develop best-practice guidance on how stewardship and long-term incentives can be better incorporated into mandate design and statements of investment principles.
In connection with this another action still to be completed, according to an update on its plan, is to encourage investment consultants to issue public position statements describing how their activities support the provision of long-term investment approaches and stewardship in mandate design and performance evaluation.
The IA also plans to continue working with the International Accounting Standards Board to expedite research on accounting for intangibles, and examine methodologies for calculating average holding periods with a view to developing a standard approach across the industry.