UK – The final version of an academic study backed by the National Association of Pension Funds has had some of its comments about trustees’ lack of competence removed.

The original draft of the study by a team led by Oxford University Professor Gordon Clark - reported by IPE in June - contained some harsh words about trustees.

It said: “Put simply, trustees do not share a common understanding of the most important (albeit abstract) principles underpinning modern investment theory and practice.”

This phrase does not appear in the final version released by the NAPF.

Neither does the remark that findings about trustees’ decision-making were “troubling” as the range of their solutions to problems was far greater than anticipated.

The NAPF denied putting pressure on Clark to moderate the comments. “There was absolutely no question of anybody at NAPF trying to influence the content of the final report,” a spokesman said.

“We commissioned the study in order to identify any weaknesses in the decision-making processes of pension scheme trustees, and that is precisely what the Oxford University team came up with.

“The earlier version was a preliminary report which required further work before yesterday's final version was published.”

Clark told IPE in June that the NAPF did not endorse the views expressed in the original paper and that it did not represent official NAPF policy.

“The views expressed in the paper are, as indicated in the paper, solely the responsibility of the authors,” he said at the time.