UK - The National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) has suggested there should now be a complete review of the pensions principles set up by former head of Gartmore fund managers, Paul Myners, in 2001.

"Given the changes that occupational pension schemes have undergone sine 2001 (and even since the HM Treasury review in 20004), respondents did not consider it appropriate simply to adopt HM Treasury's proposed 2004 amendments," said the body.

Following consultation of industry representatives - focused on increased trustee knowledge and transparency - the NAPF notes Myners-proposed amendments were formulated but never fully incorporated into trustees' principles.

As a result, the NAPF would like to see a review starting in three years' time and focused, in particular, on the challenges smaller schemes face in complying with the Myners' code, as take-up of the principles is still considerably lower among smaller schemes.

"Small schemes are even more constrained, in terms of both internal resource and access to expert advice, than their larger counterparts," the NAPF said.

"Moreover, smaller schemes generally cannot access the investment efficiencies that come with scale."

The suggested review should also strengthen the focus on defined contribution schemes. Furthermore, the NAPF wants ownership of the principles to pass from the Treasury to co-ownership between the Pensions Regulator and the pensions industry.

WIthin its report, the NAPF found trustees are still reluctant to assess their own performance but have improved their knowledge, transparency of reporting and reviewed investment strategies in line with the Myners' principles.

"Whilst trustees have made significant progress in assessing the performance of their advisers, in particular investment managers, they remain reluctant to assess their own performance," the NAPF noted in its progress report on the adoption of the 2001 Myners' principles.

The NAPF recommends periodical self-assessment of trustee performance as well as that of the board, and disclosure of the results in the annual report of pension schemes with assets in excess of £250m (€358.4m).

Have Your Say: John Ashcroft, head of DC, governance and Europe at The Pensions Regulator, said:

"We welcome the findings which show that our work and that of others has been effective in improving governance. We will be giving the report careful consideration and are continuing to talk to the NAPF about the ways in which we can work together."

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