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Pension fund efficiency: the impact of scale, governance and plan design

  • Jacob Bikker
  • Jan de Dreu

Administrative and investment costs per participant appear to vary widely across pension funds. These costs are important because they reduce the rate of return on the investments of pension funds and consequently raise the cost of retirement security. This paper examines the impact of determinants of these costs, such as the size, governance, pension plan design and outsourcing decisions, using data on all Dutch pension funds across the 1992-2004 period, including more than 10,000 observations. We find that economies of scale dominate the strong dispersion in both administrative and investment costs across pension funds. Industry-wide pension funds are significantly more efficient than company funds and other funds. The operating costs of pension funds' defined contribution plans are lower than those of defined benefit plans. Higher shares of pensioners make funds more costly, whereas the reverse is true when relatively many participants are inactive.

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File URL: http://www.dnb.nl/binaries/WP%20109-2006_tcm46-146766.pdf
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Paper provided by Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department in its series DNB Working Papers with number 109.

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Date of creation: Aug 2006
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Handle: RePEc:dnb:dnbwpp:109
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Web page: http://www.dnb.nl/en/

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  1. Jacob A. Bikker & Peter J.G. Vlaar, 2006. "Conditional Indexation in Defined Benefit Pension Plans," DNB Working Papers 086, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  2. Olivia S. Mitchell & Emily S. Andrews, 1981. "Scale economies in private multi-employer pension systems," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 34(4), pages 522-530, July.
  3. D. K. Malhotra & Robert W. McLeod, 1997. "An Empirical Analysis Of Mutual Fund Expenses," Journal of Financial Research, Southern Finance Association;Southwestern Finance Association, vol. 20(2), pages 175-190, 06.
  4. Bateman, Hazel & Mitchell, Olivia S., 2004. "New evidence on pension plan design and administrative expenses: the Australian experience," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(01), pages 63-76, March.
  5. Bateman,Hazel & Kingston,Geoffrey & Piggott,John, 2001. "Forced Saving," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521481625.
    • Bateman,Hazel & Kingston,Geoffrey & Piggott,John, 2001. "Forced Saving," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521484718.
  6. Lakonishok, Joseph & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1992. "The Structure and Performance of the Money Management Industry," Scholarly Articles 10498059, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. Jaap Bikker & Michiel van Leuvensteijn, 2005. "An Exploration into Competition and Efficiency in the Dutch Life Insurance Industry," DNB Working Papers 047, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  8. Olivia S. Mitchell, . "Administrative Costs in Public and Private Retirement Systems," Pension Research Council Working Papers 96-4, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
  9. Malhotra, D K & McLeod, Robert W, 1997. "An Empirical Analysis of Mutual Fund Expenses," Journal of Financial Research, Southern Finance Association;Southwestern Finance Association, vol. 20(2), pages 175-90, Summer.
  10. Olivia S. Mitchell Ping-Lung, . "Public Pension Plan Efficiency," Pension Research Council Working Papers 95-11, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
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