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Lack of long-term planning and awareness holding back pension trustees and investment managers contributing to the Build Back Better plan

As the UK government continues to push its Build Back Better plan, Canada Life Asset Management’s ‘The Role of Institutional Money’ researchreveals pension trustees and investment managers are facing significant barriers to align their investment strategies with the key pillars of the plan: infrastructure, skills, innovation, levelling up, net zero, and opportunities for growth.


The Build Back Better plan was initially launched in March 2021 to support economic growth through significant investment. Despite 31% of pension trustees and investment managers being very familiar with the government’s plan, while a further 65% are moderately familiar, a lack of long-term planning (43%) and a lack of investment opportunities (44%) are holding back institutional money contributing to the government’s Build Back Better strategy. Pension trustees and investment managers also stated the following as major barriers:

  • Lack of capital - 43%
  • Regulatory challenges - 41%
  • Limited will to align investment strategies with the plan - 39%
  • Client reluctance - 26%


The research also revealed major differences in how different areas of the Build Back Better plan are currently accounted for in short (1-3 years) and long-term (over 5 years) investment strategies. Two-fifths (41%) and a third (32%) of pension trustees and investment managers have investment strategies focusing on the skills and infrastructure pillars of the Build Back Better plan in the short-term, respectively. Whereas net zero and opportunities for growth are built into longer-term strategies for 72% and 93%.


The latest results from ‘The Role of Institutional Money’ research follow recent findings from Canada Life Asset Management that revealed the way institutional money is put to ‘good use’ is set to be transformed within the next decade. Institutional respondents view overseas developments (96%) and the regeneration of cities and the highstreets (90%) as potential key areas of investment.


Michael White, Head of UK Property, Canada Life Asset Management, said: “Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic the government has made many calls for institutional investors to support the country’s efforts to ‘build back better’. While pension trustees and investment managers are familiar with the government’s intentions and many are showing an appetite to align their investment strategies with the key pillars of the Build Back Better plan, they are facing significant barriers. This ranges from a lack of long-term planning to limited investment opportunities.


“If the Build Back Better plan is going to be a success, it is crucial that the industry overcomes these barriers. This can only happen if stakeholders across the asset management industry work collaboratively, supported by clarity of policy, to ensure institutional money can be put to good use and create a positive impact for society.”



1Qualitative and quantitative research conducted in October 2021 by Canada Life Asset Management and Savanta. The sample of 203 consisted of 54 pension trustees/pension investment managers/pensions investment consultants, 31 heads of property/real estate, 56 CIO/CFO/Finance Directors, 30 senior portfolio/fund managers, 32 financial controllers. All work for funds which manage over £50 million


2For this survey, good use refers  to the money invested in a way that creates positive impacts for society. For example, the construction of new roads, bridges and transport links, the regeneration of city centres, the building of hospitals etc.