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Pension fund governance and the choice between defined benefit and defined contribution plans

Listed author(s):
  • Timothy Besley
  • Andrea Prat

Recent events in several countries have underscored the importance of good governance in private occupational pension plans. The present paper uses contract theory to analyze the interplay of residual claims and control rights in private pensions. The residual claimant is the plan sponsor in a defined benefit (DB) plan and the pool of beneficiaries in a defined contribution (DC) plan. The main control rights we examine relate to decisions on funding, asset allocation, and asset management. Under complete contracting, governance can be shown to be neutral: DC and DB plans di.er only on risk allocation. If instead contracts are incomplete, a DB (DC) plan should: (1) Assign more vigilance responsibility to the sponsor (beneficiaries); (2) Rely less (more) on trustees; (3) Tend to employ trustees that are professional experts (caring insiders); (4) Assign asset allocation rights tothe sponsor (beneficiaries); (5) have strict funding requirements.

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File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/24853/
File Function: Open access version.
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 24853.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2003
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:24853
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Web page: http://www.lse.ac.uk/

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  1. Andrea Prat, 2005. "The Wrong Kind of Transparency," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 862-877, June.
  2. 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.
  3. Diane Del Guercio & Paula A. Tkac, 2000. "The determinants of the flow of funds of managed portfolios: mutual funds versus pension funds," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2000-21, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  4. Andrew A. Samwick & Jonathan Skinner, 1998. "How Will Defined Contribution Pension Plans Affect Retirement Income?," NBER Working Papers 6645, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Tirole, Jean, 2001. "Corporate Governance," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 1-35, January.
  6. Bengt Holmström, 1999. "Managerial Incentive Problems: A Dynamic Perspective," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 169-182.
  7. Venkiteswaran N, 1997. "Ethics, Values and Corporate Governance," IIMA Working Papers WP1997-08-01_01459, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Research and Publication Department.
  8. Venkiteswaran N, 2000. "Corporate Governance for Shareholder Value," IIMA Working Papers WP2000-07-01, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Research and Publication Department.
  9. Bengt Holmstrom, 1999. "Managerial Incentive Problems: A Dynamic Perspective," NBER Working Papers 6875, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Blake, David, 1998. "Pension schemes as options on pension fund assets: implications for pension fund management," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 263-286, December.
  11. Mitchell A. Petersen, 1992. "Pension Reversions and Worker-Stockholder Wealth Transfers," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(3), pages 1033-1056.
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