OECD Working Papers on Insurance and Private Pensions

Selected studies on insurance and private pensions policy prepared for use within the OECD and addressing such policy issues as risk management, governance, types of investments, and benefit protection. This working papers series has been discontinued; it is superseded by ‘OECD Working Papers on Finance, Insurance and Private Pensions’ available via: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/20797117.


Pension Fund Governance

Challenges and Potential Solutions

Good governance is increasingly recognized as an important aspect of an efficient private pension system, enhancing investment performance and benefit security. Yet, despite regulatory and industry initiatives, governance weaknesses persist across OECD and non-OECD countries. This paper highlights the main governance challenges faced by policymakers (particularly with trust-based pension systems), and draws on recent policy initiatives to propose possible solutions to strengthen governance arrangements. The paper suggests that some of the more serious cases of governance failures could be solved through a more balanced representation of stakeholders in the governing body, higher levels of expertise (which may be achieved via training or the use of independent trustees) and the implementation of codes of conduct addressing conflicts of interest. The absence of governance arrangements for defined contribution style pension plans also needs to be addressed, potentially via management committees, increased fiduciary responsibility for relevant parties or via a strengthened role for pension supervisory authorities. Consolidation of the pension industry in some countries may also be required to achieve economies of scale and reduce costs, which in turn would allow pension funds to dedicate more resources to strengthening their internal governance.


Keywords: trustee, conflicts of interest, pension fund, governance, fiduciary responsibility
JEL: G23: Financial Economics / Financial Institutions and Services / Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors; G32: Financial Economics / Corporate Finance and Governance / Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill; J32: Labor and Demographic Economics / Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs / Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions
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