UK - The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has said scheme members must have access to "comprehensive information and independent advice" if the pension fund is planning any kind of risk transfer.

Speaking at a seminar organised by consultancy Barnett Waddingham that examined enhanced transfers from pension schemes, Simon Wasserman of TPR said the regulator's role was to protect all scheme members and guarantee they were able to make informed decisions.

"Any transfer exercise should be conducted with members' interests as a primary concern," he said.

"We have made it clear in our draft guidance we expect trustees to properly scrutinise all transfer exercises."

Of those present at the seminar, 78% said transfer deals would be a helpful option for certain members, while the remainder said any transfers would only benefit a small number of its scheme members.

Paul Jayson, a partner at the consultancy, said: "In the case of Enhanced Transfer Values or Pension Increase Exchanges, the member must know what they'll get and what they are giving up."

However, Wassermann said that while transfers would be the right choice for individuals under certain circumstances, cases where this applied were likely to be in the minority.

"Members must have access to clear, comprehensive information and independent advice to make that decision," he added.

Meanwhile, Aviva Investors has called on pension fund trustees to guarantee their in-house stewardship requirements matched up with those implemented by their asset managers ahead of the launch of the Stewardship Code at the end of the month.

Anita Skipper, the company's corporate governance director, said they were looking forward to the launch of the Code, but added that while it targeted asset managers in the UK, it was not solely their responsibility to ensure its implementation.

"We therefore encourage pension trustees to consider the guidance being issued by the NAPF on this and how they will respond to the Code," she said.

"Some [asset managers] are already very active in stewardship, and others are planning to become so, but trustees should ascertain their asset managers' plans to ensure they match up with their own stewardship requirements."

Skipper added that improving the quality of corporate governance would also aid long-term returns, which benefited pension funds.

Finally, a pensions consultancy has attacked successive governments' track record on pensions, calling for the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) to be backed by the government in case of insolvency.

Ken Tymms, corporate pensions manager at Grove Pension Solutions, said the PPF was a scheme in its own right, but with a "sponsor" that refused to back it financially.

"Given the government's fingerprints are all over the funding difficulties and consequent decline of these schemes, there is a strong argument they should be the backer of last resort for the PPF," he said.

The fund announced plans last month to be self-sufficient by 2030 and today announced it was signing up to the Stewardship Code.

Martin Clarke, the PPF's executive director of financial risk, said: "We are committed to being a responsible and vigilant asset owner which, in particular, means we will exercise our ownership rights, including voting rights, to safeguard sustainable returns in the long-term."