GLOBAL - The International Organisation of Pension Supervisors (IOPS) has called for a more risk-based approach to pension supervision as it unveiled a range of supervisory tools at its annual general meeting in Australia.

Ross Jones, president of IOPS and deputy chairman of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, which oversees the country's superannuation funds, said it was important to revise the principles in light of the lessons learned during the recent financial crisis.

"Pension supervisors learned we need to apply risk-based supervision principles in a manner to avoid pro-cyclical impacts that might make already difficult situations worse," he said. "We also learned the importance of communication."

He said this was important not only between the supervisor and the fund, but also with the public at large.

He also stressed the fact that pensions were long-term products and that short-term decisions could therefore be harmful.

IOPS's principles for Private Pension Supervision maintain that national legal framework must clearly define the role of a pension supervisor, stressing that these should be allowed to operate independently from any governmental interference.

As part of IOPS's new approach, it plans to launch an online toolkit to help supervisors better identify risks before they occur.

Solange Berstein, superintendant for pensions in Chile and technical committee chair at IOPS, said it offered "practical assistance" to supervisors.

Meanwhile, Edward Odundo, chief executive of the Retirement Benefits Authority in Kenya, was reappointed IOPS vice-president, while Berstein will serve a further two years in her role.