SURVEY - IPE has commissioned Brian Holden MBE, Chairman of Trustee Risk Managment's Advisory Service, to undertake a major independent review of the governance principles and structures of European occupational pension funds.

The review is supported by Pioneer Global Investments Limited and will be published in November, and will also be the subject of a seminar presentation to be given in Barcelona on 20 November, ahead of IPE's European Pension Fund Awards.

We would like you to contribute your thoughts to this important study, as the review will focus on a wide range of pension governance themes, including the role of lay (non-professional) trustees and board members and the strengths and weaknesses of trust, foundation and contract models and whether they should be replaced.

Fundamental points to be reviewed, include:

What are the main objectives in any model of pension fund governance? What is the governance method for your fund? Is it trust-based, pension board, supervisory board etc? What is the board constitution? How many representatives from employer(s), employees, others? What are the main strengths and weaknesses of this method for pension fund governance, and how do you think it might be improved? What are the main strengths and weaknesses of contract-based models, and how do you think it might be improved? Do you think that current governance models need replacing? If so, what would you replace them with? Should any particular distinctions be made between defined benefit and defined contribution funds when determining an appropriate governance model?

Should smaller companies/pension funds be subject to any particular considerations?
There has already been a good response from those involved in, or interested in, the important topic of pension fund governance and views have been received from respondents across the European pension fund arena.

Some of the issues raised so far include:

The fiduciary responsibilities of the trustees, the pensions board and the company; Pensions from the company perspective; Pension fund regulation and supervision; The experience and qualifications of trustees and pension boards; Ensuring workable governance processes and internal controls; The role of the Chairman and Secretary of Trustees or Pensions Board; Protecting the fund and the trustees/pension board members; Getting the risk/reward ratio right; What are the alternative governance structures and systems? Is there an ideal structure? Is there the necessary will for change? Can pension funds, their trustees and pension boards help each other?

It is important that there is a wide-ranging response to the review and all views will remain confidential, so readers are invited to submit their views and opinions on some, or all, of the issues raised above.

Click here to contribute to the survey or email for more information.