Sweden’s AP4 has been named as the most transparent pension fund internationally in terms of its responsible investing, and Dutch pension fund Stichting Pensioenfonds Zorg en Welzijn (PFZW) is the most open pension fund with regard to costs, in a newly-compiled league table.

Announcing the latest annual results from the Global Pension Transparency Benchmark (GPTB), the project’s organisers – which include CEM Benchmarking – said the 2022 findings “continues to reveal the need for improvement in pension transparency across the globe”.

They added that given the slow evolutionary nature of the pension industry in general, this was not entirely surprising.

The GPTB measures whether pension organisations are disclosing what they do and how they are generating value for stakeholders clearly, completely, and concisely, the review’s creators said.

Disclosures scored are organised into four equally-weighted factors – cost, governance, performance and responsible investing.

Canada’s CPP Investments gained the highest score overall in the 2022 GPTB – the second annual review so far produced – with that pension fund also clinching the top score for governance disclosures.

Canada was also found to be the top country for pension fund transparency in 2022, based on the minimum scores for that country’s pension funds, for the second year in a row.

AP4, one of Sweden’s national pensions buffer funds, gained the highest ranking in terms of responsible investments transparency with a score of 88, and took sixth place overall in the league table.

PFZW in the Netherlands ranked number one in the 2022 review regarding cost, with the healthcare and welfare sector pension fund taking 13th place overall in the survey.

Meanwhile, CalPERS came out as number one pension fund for transparency regarding performance, according to the GPFB.

Explaining the methodology of the survey, GPTB said its researchers reviewed fund websites, annual reports, financial statements, and some other published documents, making “reasonable, but not exhaustive” efforts to find information – but did not ask questions of the pension funds about their disclosures.

The ranking includes 15 countries, with the five largest pension management organisations within each country scored to determine the results, it said.

In general comments about the findings of its latest survey, the GPTB said progress on transparency in the pension sector was being made in some areas – particularly responsible investing, but also in governance disclosures.

“The improvements seen in disclosures around responsible investing mean that this factor is no longer the lowest-scoring factor,” it said.

Improvements in governance disclosures, meanwhile, meant that factor was now the highest-scoring factor overall, followed by performance – which had been the highest-scoring factor in the 2021 exercise – with cost being the lowest-scoring factor, GPTB said.

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