Swiss pension funds, banks and actuaries have been publicising a new code of ethics for the pensions industry at meetings in Geneva and Zurich, held last month.
The code regulates the behaviour of foundation boards (trustees of pension funds) calling for full disclosure of any financial conflicts of interest tha board members may have and prohibiting practices such as front-running (buying shares with inside knowledge of fund investments). OPP2, the government regulation covering pension funds which was amended last year, did not prohibit specific investment but it did reinforce the idea of fiduciary responsibility on the part of foundation boards.
Commenting on the new code, Mike McShee of Buck Consultants in Geneva said: There is a pro-cess of exploration going on about who really has a fiduciary responsibility and what that responsibility is. Obviously it means things like being prudent, acting on the basis of sound and consistent analysis, and also having some basic principles of ethics. I see the code of eth-ics as one part of the whole structure and concept of defining fiduciary responsibility.""