Imposing a higher levy on schemes without a substantive sponsor would be fairer and act as a deterrent, according to Pensions Buzz respondents.
This weeks' 105 respondents were also questioned on the relationship between trustees and consultants, trustees' understanding of implicit investment costs, and what is the best approach to designing a default defined contribution (DC) fund.
The majority of respondents (55%) said they support the Pension Protection Fund's (PPF) plan to introduce a new levy for schemes without a substantive sponsor.
The proposal, which would apply to schemes after a restructuring, would use the option pricing model and may reduce the risk to the PPF.
One compared it with insurance policies: "[It's] a bit like paying a higher insurance premium if you make modifications to a car."
"If the risks are higher, then the premiums should be too," another added.
A further respondent said it could act as a deterrent: "It is fairer to strong schemes that have good covenants and employer support [and] serves as a deterrent to unscrupulous corporate raiders and creative accounting investors."
However, 21% were unconvinced. One suggested: "Parent companies should be targets, not schemes themselves."
Meanwhile, another questioned the methodology: "The ‘put' option pricing assumes that trustees would exercise the option against the PPF - in practice they would do whatever they could to reduce risk and stay out of the PPF."
Respondents were split on this question, with a narrow majority (52%) arguing consultants, in their experience, were not reluctant to provide constructive criticism to clients.
Many said these were qualities all consultants needed. One said: "One has to be pragmatic from time to time but being honest is the bedrock of any relationship."
Another added: "If an adviser is not demonstrating honesty and integrity, there is no value in that relationship."
Another commented this needs to be done in tandem with trustees expanding their knowledge and expertise.
Of the 43% who said consultants are not open enough, one said they are "not always reluctant, but it needs a strong positive lead from the chair to encourage consultants to say what they really think".
Another called on trustees to consider how they would respond: "What the trustees have to ask themselves is ‘how would we genuinely react to criticism of our procedures or decision-making?' If they admit they would probably be angry, then they can hardly complain."
Exactly half of respondents said trustees do not have a good enough understanding of implicit investment costs, while just 29% said they did.
Of those who said trustees could have a better understanding, one blamed the advisers: "Advisers rarely raise the issue of implicit costs and avoid any discussion with the trustees."
Another said: "Unless you know where to look, then how are you going to find out? Unfortunately a lot of trustees are in that boat".
"With investment managers doing their best to make things complicated and hiding costs, using jargon and smart talk, it is very difficult," a further commented. "We try to break down the smoke screen, tie them down to simple facts, but it isn't easy."
One who believed they do have a good enough understanding said it is often just a "misunderstanding".
"Trustees will often say they do not understand the implicit costs because the term is not well-defined and could mean anything. [They do] understand implicit costs far better than just about anyone else."
A further 21% were unsure.
Just under half of respondents (45%) believed greater diversity among trustees would be better for members. However, some asked whether this was a question of demographics or expertise.
One said: "By definition, if you open to a wider talent pool you should get better outcomes. However, the solution is not quotas or artificial measures. It is a societal issue to ensure that a more diverse range of people are in a position to be considered on merit."
Another commented: "A trustee board made up of white, middle class males provide good outcomes for members who are white, middle class and male. In my experience, trustee boards ignore almost all other demographics."
Yet, 34% said there was no need for greater diversity. One such respondent said: "It isn't diversity that's required; it's a general upskilling".
Another respondent said: "They don't need diversity, they need skills and understanding and an ability to think and act outside of the investment consultant."
Almost half (47%) stated a simple design is the best approach for a defined contribution (DC) default fund, while 28% agreed it was good communication with members.
Yet, some commented that no one approach would provide consistent results for everyone.
One said: "There is no ‘right answer' to default fund selection. Start with an understanding of the scheme demographics, the art of the possible with platform options, then set up and constantly review in light of experience."
Another stated that "target date funds are the only solution to deal with the varied demographics and are simply enough to communicate".
One who said communication is most important added: "Because members are saving long-term, it is appropriate to invest in riskier assets e.g. equities, emerging market securities. The performance will be volatile so it is essential that members understand the choice of investments and [are] reassured when there are falls in value".
Just 8% said researching members' preference is most important, while 17% said it is something else.
The weekly tracker fell this week to -1.58.
Of the 105 respondents, 40% said it was neither likely nor unlikely that investments would be at a higher value in six months' time. Another 18% said it was likely, while 21% said it was unlikely.
Nearly every trustee is confident of the next stage in their scheme’s strategy, despite almost an equal number being forced to consider replacing plans within the prior 12 months, according to research by Barnett Waddingham.
Companies could be overstating their pension liabilities by up to £60bn due to their life expectancy assumptions, according to XPS Pensions Group.
Defined benefit (DB) schemes that provide GMPs must revisit and, where necessary, top-up historic cash equivalent transfer values (CETVs) that have been calculated on an unequal basis, a landmark court judgment said last week.
Regulators must act now to impose some "proper regulation" to stop another defined benefit (DB) transfer advice disaster, saysTim Sargisson.
Opportunities for defined benefit (DB) schemes to pursue investment approaches that help repair the UK’s economy cannot stand in the way of improving member outcomes, Aegon says.