UK - Chris Hitchen, chair of the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF), has argued strong governance structures are vital for pension funds to operate dynamically.

Speaking at Punter Southall London Pensions Conference, Hitchen said: "I wouldn't want to pretend I know what the perfect investment strategy is going to be in ten years' time, and that's why we need good governance structures, to operate dynamically."

In a speech about the UK pension industry and the work of the NAPF, Hitchen argued that the pension market should not enter into a form of "retailisation", arguing that the investment services have to be purchased wholesale.

He added that there should be more interaction with members on suitable investment long term investment strategies.

Hitchen remarked: "Good defined benefit investments and good defined contribution investments should look the same, they are trying to do the same thing. They are joined at the hip: both are looking for good long term returns."

He concluded that it is vital to have the right governance structures in place, independent from the government.

Hitchen is chief executive of RPMI, the third-party administrator set up by the Railways Pension Scheme (RailPen), the industry-wide scheme for the UK rail industry with assets of €25.4bn at end 2006.