Business

Fidelity executive: Leaders need to ensure that younger Americans don’t get ‘raw deal’

Fidelity Investments’ asset management chief, Ronald O’Hanley, said that business and political leaders need to make sure they’re not creating “a truly raw deal” for younger generations of Americans.

While the Occupy Wall Street movement could be criticized for a lack of focus, he said this morning, he is concerned about the notion of “intergenerational inequity” that the group raised. How younger Americans will pay their debts and save for retirement is an issue, he said before business leaders at the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce.

“Revolutions tend to be fostered by the young,” he said.

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O’Hanley said the current debates during the Republican presidential primary have largely been silent on Social Security and other key issues. It’s “almost silly, what’s being discussed,” he said.

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O’Hanley said Europe is in worse shape than the US economically because their banks are in trouble. European economies rely heavily on bank borrowing and have less diverse capital markets, he said. He also blamed pay-as-you-go pension plans for some of the financial burdens European nations are facing, calling them “Ponzi schemes” of a sort because they require a steady stream of new workers to function.

He later backed away from the Ponzi label, but said countries need to find new solutions for retirement plans. A failure to do so will result not only in strained systems, he said, but bad times for individuals down the road.

“We’re going to have a significant increase in the number of homeless,” he said.

Beth Healy can be reached at bhealy@globe.com.