L&G boss warns UK left lagging behind as a ‘low growth, low wage’ economy

·2 min read

The boss of Legal & General has branded Britain a “low growth, low wage” economy and hit out at the Government for failing to encourage investment.

Outgoing chief executive Sir Nigel Wilson said regulation and government policy has held the pensions and insurance giant back from investing across the UK.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We’d like to invest a lot more here in the UK, but a combination of regulation and policy has made it very difficult to do that over the last 20, 30 years.”

He added: “We have to recognise we’ve starved our economy of growth equity, and the consequence is we are a low growth, low productivity, low wage economy fraught by political infighting.

“This has to change.”

Sir Nigel, who recently announced plans to step down after more than a decade running L&G, urged the Government to “step up and put rules and policies in place that allow us to invest in the real economy in the UK”.

His comments came as L&G reported annual figures showing earnings lifted 12% to £2.5 billion in 2022.

But operating profits from the investment management arm fell 19% to £340 million due to the impact of market movements on assets under management, which were down by £225 billion.

Despite this, the firm is still the UK’s largest investor with £1.2 trillion of assets under management.

Sir Nigel has been chief executive since 2012, having joined L&G in 2009 as chief financial officer.

The group said it has launched a hunt for his successor, with Sir Nigel remaining in place until the new boss starts.