UK - Schemes are not to blame for the economic crisis but should do more to improve corporate governance, experts claim.
Hermes Equity Ownership Services chief executive Colin Melvin said, while pension funds could not be blamed for the crisis, their help in addressing the corporate governance issues highlighted by last year's events was "the most important aspect" that emerged in the two speeches.
He added: "Pension funds should ensure the teams they need are in place. The task for them is to challenge and support companies on governance themes. The problem is when assets can be easily sold, investors tend not to be very interested in governance. If we had longer mandates, we would see longer term behaviours arising."
However, National Association of Pension Funds head of corporate governance David Paterson questioned whether the industry was equipped with the necessary skills to play effectively the role envisaged by Sants and Myners.
He said: "Given the number of different stocks held by pension schemes in their portfolio, several of them will face problems related to skills set required to influence companies' governance.
"We need to hold managers into account, but we also need to have the skills to have an impact on the strategic directions businesses are taking."
Association of British Insurers investment manager Michael McKersie pointed out it was the role of shareholders to engage with the board of directors in the cases the board did not hold the company management accountable for strategic challenges.
BGI Europe vice-president Lindsay Tomlinson said often problems came from "dominant chief executives, as in the case of RBS" - and he urged boards to overcome the negative effects of these situations.
He concluded: "The behaviour of pension funds would have not made much difference in the credit crisis. Small amounts of money moved by schemes did not have a strong impact."
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