UK/US - Trustees should look to the US for practical lessons on how to safeguard investments and protect pension fund assets, lawyers claim.
Hammonds solicitor Frances Phillips Taft and McDermott, Will & Emery head of pensions and incentives, Steven Hull, told an Association of Pensions Lawyers seminar that Britain and the US had a lot to “learn from each other”.
They said: “The bankruptcy of Enron and accompanying loss of Enron employees’ retirement savings has highlighted the vulnerabilities in the private pension system in the United States and focused attention on strengthening several aspects of the system.”
The APL heard that Enron had highlighted the importance of:
- Investment diversification and related investor education issues.
- The crucial role of disclosure and what information employees needed and could expect about their company and their pension plans.
- The importance of fiduciary rules in safeguarding employee pension assets.
They said the Enron scandal prompted many calls for reform which President Bush acknowledged by initiating a review of pension law.
“The UK has, to an extent, already had to deal with similar issues as a result of the Maxwell scandal.
“Nevertheless, Enron increased the profile of pensions in the media and in the public’s awareness at a time when the so called ‘pensions crisis’ has resulted in calls for reform of the UK pensions system.”
This week's top stories included Cardano announcing plans to acquire Now Pensions from a Dutch pension fund later this year.
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) faces a £102m impact on liabilities as a result of equalising guaranteed minimum pensions (GMPs), according to its annual results.
Malcolm Mclean says getting the channels of communication right and engaging more openly is a good starting point