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The Corporate Governance of Defined-Benefit Pension Plans: Evidence from the United Kingdom

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  • Cocco, Joâo Francisco P.D.
  • Volpin, Paolo

Abstract

This paper studies the governance of defined-benefit pension plans in the United Kingdom. We construct a governance measure, equal to the proportion of trustees of the pension plan who are also executive directors of the sponsoring company. Our findings indicate that pension plans of indebted companies with a higher proportion of insider-trustees: (i) invest a higher proportion of the pension plan assets into equities, (ii) contribute less into the pension plan, and (iii) have a larger dividend payout ratio. This evidence supports an agency view, whereby insider-trustees act in the interest of shareholders of the sponsoring company, and not necessarily pension plan members.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 4932.

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Date of creation: Feb 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4932

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Keywords: corporate governance; defined benefits; insiders; pension plans; pension trustees;

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References

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  1. repec:rus:hseeco:110831 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Zvi Bodie & John B. Shoven & David A. Wise, 1987. "Issues in Pension Economics," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bodi87-1, October.
  3. Besley, Timothy J. & Prat, Andrea, 2003. "Pension Fund Governance and the Choice Between Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution Plans," CEPR Discussion Papers 3955, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Zvi Bodie & Jay O. Light & Randall Morck & Robert A. Taggart, Jr., 1986. "Funding and Asset Allocation in Corporate Pension Plans: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 1315, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Petersen, Mitchell A, 1992. "Pension Reversions and Worker-Stockholder Wealth Transfers," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(3), pages 1033-56, August.
  6. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicholas S., 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 187-221, June.
  7. Benjamin E. Hermalin & Michael S. Weisbach, 1996. "Endogenously Chosen Boards of Directors and Their Monitoring of the CEO," Microeconomics 9602001, EconWPA, revised 09 Oct 1996.
  8. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicolás S., 1945-, 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Working papers 1523-84., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  9. Treynor, Jack L, 1977. "The Principles of Corporate Pension Finance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 32(2), pages 627-38, May.
  10. Mary Margaret Frank, 2002. "The Impact of Taxes on Corporate Defined Benefit Plan Asset Allocation," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(4), pages 1163-1190, 09.
  11. Weisbach, Michael S., 1988. "Outside directors and CEO turnover," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1-2), pages 431-460, January.
  12. Daniel Bergstresser & Mihir Desai & Joshua Rauh, 2006. "Earnings Manipulation, Pension Assumptions, and Managerial Investment Decisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(1), pages 157-195, 02.
  13. Stewart C. Myers & Nicholas S. Majluf, 1984. "Corporate Financing and Investment Decisions When Firms Have InformationThat Investors Do Not Have," NBER Working Papers 1396, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Jensen, Michael C, 1986. "Agency Costs of Free Cash Flow, Corporate Finance, and Takeovers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 323-29, May.
  15. Jeffrey Pontiff & Andrei Shleifer & Michael S. Weisbach, 1990. "Reversions of Excess Pension Assets after Takeovers," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(4), pages 600-613, Winter.
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Cited by:
  1. Kamakshya Trivedi & Garry Young, 2006. "Defined benefit company pensions and corporate valuations: simulation and empirical evidence from the United Kingdom," Bank of England working papers 289, Bank of England.
  2. Philip Bunn & Kamakshya Trivedi, 2005. "Corporate expenditures and pension contributions: evidence from UK company accounts," Bank of England working papers 276, Bank of England.

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