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Haldane should have lost job for pension comment, says SocGen's Edwards

Haldane should have lost job for pension comment, says SocGen's Edwards

Bank of England (BoE) chief economist Andy Haldane’s claim that property is better than pensions was 'grotesque' and should have led to him losing his job, according to Societe Generale's global strategist Albert Edwards.

Last August, Haldane (pictured) told the Sunday Times that property will outperform pensions as long as there is a strain on housing stock.

‘It ought to be pension but it’s almost certainly property,’ Haldane said at the time.

‘As long as we continue not to build anything like as many houses in this country as we need to…we will see what we’ve had for the better part of a generation, which is house prices relentlessly heading north.’

Edwards, who described the comments as ‘totally stupid’ at the time, used his global strategy presentation on Tuesday as another opportunity to launch a broadside at Haldane.  

‘Andy Haldane, the chief economist of the Bank of England, what an incredible thing he said when he was quoted in the Sunday Times saying ‘property is a better bet than a pension,’ due to continually rising house prices,’ Edwards said, according to Business Insider.  

‘That is a grotesque thing for a policy-maker to say. Quite frankly I’m surprised he’s still in his job after he said that. He shouldn’t be in his job.’

Edwards continued: ‘[That] reminds me of [former Federal Reserve Chairman] Ben Bernanke in 2006 when he was asked about the house price bubble, he said “Hey, I don’t even accept your premise there is a bubble.” That assertion came around a year before the US sub-prime mortgage market collapsed.' 

Haldane is building a reputation for colourful views and is even prepared to have a dig at himself.

Last week he compared the BoE economic warnings on the wake of the Brexit to the forecasting skills of legendary weatherman Michael Fish.

'It's true, again, fair cop. We had foreseen a sharper slowdown in the economy than has happened, in common with almost every other mainstream macro-forecaster,’ Haldane confessed.

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