Notes from J.P. Morgan's Pensions Blog - 1Q 2013
Transparency. The big one.
Better governance remains top of the agenda for most pension sponsors. In a recent pensions’ survey conducted by Towers Watson,¹ a sizable number of respondents voiced the need to focus more energy in the area of governance, particularly in light of evolving regulatory demands. In addition, the survey results identified two of the greatest perceivable risks facing pensions in the next couple of years—regulatory compliance and investment volatility.
Board structures, managing conflicts of interest and training are key areas of focus for all levels of the industry including trustees, sponsors, supervisors and the legal profession. But nowhere is the new pensions’ landscape more observable than at the trustee level where the minefield of regulations and legal cases makes retaining a good talent pool an increasingly challenging business. Recent studies confirm the direct influence of competency at the trustee level as a measurable factor toward improving overall fund performance, making governance all the more critical.
With new regulations there is the potential impact of fewer but better trained trustees, the ability to develop a core of independent chairs of trustees with strong outside business acumen and, last but not least, scope for these individuals to exercise better purchasing power for the fund in terms of underlying costs. Above all, a huge focus for regulators is to improve trustee knowledge and awareness. Accreditations, self-assessments, formal training programmes within the annual trustee cycle are all becoming the norm. Education is the watch word. Are there different standards of governance protocol being applied globally?
Excerpt from a recent posting. To learn more or to comment, please visit www.jpmorganpensionblog.com. Note: the J.P. Morgan Pension Blog is a secure, online community for pension fund trustees and managers.