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UK pension regulator finds governance failings

UK - The Pensions Regulator has found a "significant minority" of UK pension funds have shortcomings in important areas of good governance practice.

These include issues such as conflict of interest, the credit rating of sponsoring companies and the lack of service level agreements with suppliers.

The findings come in a new report - ‘Occupational pension scheme governance' - based on phone interviews conducted earlier this year.

"While the survey showed that many schemes are well governed it identified areas where we need to maintain our efforts to help schemes and their trustees plug the gaps in important areas of good practice," said Tony Hobman, the regulator's chief executive.

""We have carried out a lot of work on helping to improve the way pension schemes are run but it is clear from this survey that we must not take our foot off the pedal."

The survey found that 70% of defined benefit schemes have no specific policy to manage conflicts of interest and that 37% of DB funds do not review sponsoring employers' credit rating.

Another finding was that 20% of all schemes with a main provider of administrative services have no service level agreement with their administrator.

It found that there are clear links between good governance, training and established risk management processes - and that larger schemes are better governed than smaller ones.

Elsewhere, the Trades Union Congress said that directors of the UK's top 100 companies have pensions worth nearly £1bn.

Its annual PensionsWatch survey found that the average executive can retire at 60 on a final salary pension worth nearly £3m.

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