Schemes need better benchmarking to be able to assess value for money, according to panellists at the National Association of Pension Funds conference.
The panel said it was very challenging and expensive to get hands on the information at the moment.
BASF pension manager Lynne Rawcliffe said she would like some publically-available information to help trustee boards look at benchmarking as they prepare the first annual chair statements.
This information could be provided by the regulator, she said, "especially for trustees of small schemes that do not want to pay additional costs".
Under the new DC governance rules trustees are required to produce statements to assess and report on value for money, and compare their offering with what other schemes provide.
AB pension strategies group managing director Tim Banks (pictured) said trustees must look at the "true cost" of the default investment strategy but acknowledged how difficult it was to compare like for like.
There is also a need for much more transparency around investment performance, he added. "We need more transparency and have better benchmarking that is then down to each scheme to decide what their setting value is."
BlueSky chief executive officer Paul Bannister said trustees themselves should be more transparent about what they are doing and how it affected members.
He said of BlueSky - a multi-employer master trust: "We're shaking up our trustee board from the beginning - making them be more aware and be more transparent as well. A lot of trustee boards have let DC [defined contribution] trickle along for a long, long time."
The panel also discussed how the investment strategy in DC can often be scrimped on to save on costs. For example in a bundled solution the investment charge may be just a small proportion of the overall cost to the member.
Banks said he does not think cheap is bad but that investment in DC should be treated as frontline services that would effectively be ring-fenced somehow.
"How do we actually know what's being spent [on the investment strategy]? Because a lot of the time the charge may be less than 10% of the overall charge to the member. I think if you explained to member that the key thing which influences their outcome is less than 10% of the charge spent on them, they'd probably be shocked and even a bit horrified."
He urged schemes to act now given that default funds will "define ultimately whether the DC model is successful or not in the UK".
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