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

  • Tim Besley

    ()

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and London School of Economics)

  • 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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Paper provided by Institute for Fiscal Studies in its series IFS Working Papers with number W03/09.

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Length: 31 pp
Date of creation: Jun 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:03/09
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  1. Holmstrom, Bengt, 1999. "Managerial Incentive Problems: A Dynamic Perspective," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 169-82, January.
  2. Tirole, Jean, 1999. "Corporate Governance," CEPR Discussion Papers 2086, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Andrea Prat, 2004. "The wrong kind of transparency," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 24712, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Venkiteswaran N, . "Ethics, Values and Corporate Governance," IIMA Working Papers WP1997-08-01_01459, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Research and Publication Department.
  8. 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.
  9. Venkiteswaran N, . "Corporate Governance for Shareholder Value," IIMA Working Papers WP2000-07-01, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Research and Publication Department.
  10. Diane Del Guercio & Paula A. Tkac, 2000. "The determinants of the flow of funds of managed portfolios: mutual funds versus pension funds," Working Paper 2000-21, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
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