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Volume 707: debated on Thursday 29 January 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government in light of the number of company failures, and the findings of the recent Holden report on pension fund governance, whether they will take steps to review the effectiveness of the governance principles and structures of pension funds. [HL829]

The Government remain committed to supporting the effective provision of private pensions. The legal framework within which they operate has been the subject of a significant level of external scrutiny, from the report of the Pension Law Review Committee in 1993 under the chairmanship of Professor Goode and including the reports of the Pensions Commission under Lord Turner. Building on this, successive Governments have established a comprehensive regulatory framework for occupational pensions and the Government have introduced an effective safety net to help individuals if their scheme fails. The Government are currently working to implement an ambitious pension reform programme, including taking forward their rolling deregulatory review to ensure the right balance between encouraging private pension provision and protecting the rights of pension scheme members. The Government do not, therefore, believe a further review of the issues referred to in the Question is called for at this time.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government in the light of the Fair Pensions report Investor Responsibility? UK Fund Managers' Performance and Accountability on ‘Extra-Financial Risks, what steps they are taking to ensure investors in pension funds publish evidence of their social, environmental and governance policies. [HL958]

The law already requires an occupational pension scheme's statement of investment principles to disclose its investment policies. This must include a declaration of the extent (if at all) to which social, environmental or ethical considerations are taken into account in the selection, retention, and realisation of investments.

The Government have also undertaken a consultation on the Myners investment principles. One of the outcomes of that consultation, which ended in June 2008, was the establishment of an investment governance group in partnership with key members of the pensions industry. As part of its main objectives, the group will encourage, influence and promote best practice in investment-related governance.