Global Pension Transparency Benchmark

Promoting transparency for better pension outcomes

Why Transparency Matters

The Global Pension Transparency Benchmark is a world first global standard for pension disclosure, bringing a focus to transparency in a bid to improve pension outcomes for members.

The GPTB ranks 15 countries on public disclosures of key value generation elements for the five largest pension fund organisations within each country. The GPTB focuses on the transparency and quality of public disclosures with quality relating to the completeness, clarity, information value and comparability of disclosures.

The overall country benchmark scores look at four factors: governance and organisation; performance; costs; and responsible investing, which are measured by assessing hundreds of underlying components.

Countries Analysed

Questions Asked

Data Points Analysed

There is plenty of evidence that a lack of transparency has negative consequences for relationships and organisations of all types, whether they be individuals, governments, corporations, or pension funds. Transparency is the right thing to do, but there are many benefits beyond this simple moral imperative:

  • Transparency and accountability go hand in hand and lead to improved decision making
  • Improved relationships and interactions across a broad spectrum of stakeholders including beneficiaries, plan sponsors, regulators, suppliers and concerned citizens
  • Ultimately, better outcomes through clarity of purpose, sound goals and accountability for progress

This new benchmark reframes the transparency narrative from a narrow and negative focus on costs to a more holistic and positive concept of transparency and includes governance and strategy, value generation and sustainability.

Top1000funds.com and CEM Benchmarking have long had aligned goals – to highlight industry best practice and drive better pension outcomes globally. The development of this benchmark is in line with those goals.

“A lack of transparency results in distrust and a deep sense of insecurity.” Dalai Lama

Overall Findings

The Global Pension Transparency Benchmark has revealed the need for serious improvement in pension transparency across the globe.

Overall the transparency of disclosure varies greatly, both between countries and between funds, across factors that were measured. In some instances there are wild variances between the best and worst performers.

While some countries and funds scored well on certain factors, on average transparency of disclosure needs improvement. Overall pension funds around the world scored best on performance disclosure, followed by governance, cost and responsible investment. But the average scores were low, with only the performance factor score demonstrating above average results (average country score of 68). 

Transparency was best on the performance factor

Reporting around responsible investing lacks clarity and consistency

Within each factor there was a standout country

Cost factor disclosures varied considerably

Overall Results

Country Performance Min Avg Max Performance Ranking Average Score (perf) Min - Max (perf) Cost Min Avg Max Cost Ranking Average Score (cost) Min - Max (cost) Governance Min Avg Max Governance Ranking Average Ranking (gov) Min - Max (gov) Responsible Investing Min Avg Max Responsible Investing Ranking Average Score (RI) Min - Max (RI) Overall Min Avg Max Overall Ranking Average Score (over) Min - Max (over)
Australia 66 76 86 4 76 66 - 86 58 67 84 3 67 58. - 84 65 72 80 2 72 65 - 80 8 46 70 46 8 - 70 50 65 79 8 65 50 - 79 10
Brazil 35 51 67 15 51 35 - 67 38 57 70 6 57 38 - 70 40 43 45 12 43 40 - 45 8 19 27 19 8 - 27 34 43 52 13 43 34 - 52
Canada 75 84 90 2 84 75 - 90 59 69 83 2 69 59 - 83 72 86 97 1 86 72 - 97 47 58 66 58 47 - 66 69 74 82 5 74 69 - 82
Chile 52 59 70 13 59 52 - 70 25 39 51 12 39 25 - 51 38 51 63 9 51 38 - 63 2 6 11 6 2 - 11 30 38 42 14 38 30 - 42
Denmark 51 61 70 12 61 51 - 70 41 51 59 8 51 41 - 59 47 63 91 4 63 47 - 91 46 61 74 61 46 - 74 55 59 68 3 59 55. - 68
Finland 64 69 77 7 69 64 - 77 18 28 31 14 28 18 - 31 38 57 71 7 57 38 - 71 13 58 81 58 13 - 81 33 53 63 4 53 33 - 63
Japan 47 69 86 8 69 47 - 86 30 38 46 13 38 30 - 46 18 28 41 14 28 18 - 41 0 20 40 20 0 - 40 24 39 48 12 39 24 - 48
Mexico 50 55 67 14 55 50 - 67 19 23 26 15 23 19 - 26 0 17 42 15 17 0 - 42 0 2 5 2 0 - 5 18 25 33 15 25 18 - 33
Netherlands 62 69 74 6 69 62 - 74 71 83 88 1 83 71 - 88 43 56 69 8 56 43 - 69 58 71 79 71 58. - 79 59 70 78 2 70 59 - 78
Norway 46 67 93 9 67 46 - 93 18 42 64 10 42 18 - 64 22 48 64 10 48 22 - 64 6 47 79 47 6 - 79 34 51 73 6 51 34 - 73
South Africa 56 66 80 11 66 56. - 80 34 46 63 9 46 34 - 63 43 60 77 6 60 43 - 77 8 40 57 40 8 - 57. 44 53 63 9 53 44 - 63
Sweden 73 77 82 3 77 73 - 82 43 57 70 5 57 43 - 70 64 70 78 3 70 64 - 78 66 73 88 73 66 - 88 65 69 74 1 69 65 - 74
Switzerland 56 70 84 5 70 56. - 84 40 65 82 4 65 40 - 82 26 42 78 13 42 26 - 78 18 29 49 29 18 - 49 43 52 71 11 52 43 - 71
United Kingdom 61 66 76 10 66 61 - 76 42 56 71 7 56 42 - 71 48 63 86 5 63 48 - 86 24 47 63 47 24 - 63 50 58 65 7 58 50 - 65
United States 79 87 94 1 87 79 - 94 24 41 59 11 41 24 - 59 31 47 59 11 47 31 - 59 5 35 64 35 5 - 64 38 52 67 10 52 38 - 67

Factor results

For the data, rankings and analysis of the four factors (cost, governanace, performance and responsible investment) click here

Country results

For the data, rankings and analysis of the 15 countries and underlying pension funds click here

Insights

Innovation needed on fund disclosure of corporate strategy

Innovation needed on fund disclosure of corporate strategy

A minority of pension funds reviewed for the GPTB publicly disclosure their organizational strategy in a way that goes beyond disclosures of economic and market conditions and the impact on the performance of their investments. Michael Reid argues there is room for improvement in communicating key corporate activities to stakeholders.

Why transparency is important for CalPERS

Why transparency is important for CalPERS

Anne Simpson, managing investment director, board governance and sustainability tells Amanda White why transparency is so important at CalPERS and what the fund is doing to improve it.

Why disclosure and communication are key to pension excellence

Why disclosure and communication are key to pension excellence

Comprehensive, holistic value disclosures and compelling communication are key benchmarks for pension funds. This has been confirmed by the first year experience working with leading global pension funds for the Global Pension Transparency Benchmark, a collaboration between Top1000funds.com and CEM Benchmarking. In year two, in recognition of this belief and communication excellence, we have decided to award bonus points to funds preparing Framework integrated annual reports. Mike Heale looks at four examples of pension funds already using the Framework.

Cost disclosure distorts reality

Cost disclosure distorts reality

The Global Pension Transparency Benchmark (GPTB) measured four factors in its assessment of transparency of pension fund disclosures, here Amanda White looks specifically at the level of cost transparency across pension funds globally.

Much Ado About Transparency

Much Ado About Transparency

Global Pension Transparency Benchmark advisory board member Lorelei Graye, says the benchmark combined with better data standards for incoming reporting will usher in more constructive transparency.

GPTB: The funds that stood out

GPTB: The funds that stood out

The Global Pension Transparency Benchmark revealed the need for much improved transparency among pension fund public disclosures across the globe. But there were some notable best practice examples among pension funds globally. So who were they?

Benchmarking is a filter for excellence

Benchmarking is a filter for excellence

Effective benchmarking separates the wheat from the chaff in pension management, according to Keith Ambachtsheer who argues the Top1000funds.com /CEM Benchmarking Global Pension Transparency Benchmark will help reduce the material ‘saying-doing’ gap in the global pension industry.

Meet the team

Mike Heale

Amanda White

Editor of Top1000funds.com;
director of institutional content at Conexus Financial

“We are passionate about improving the global pension industry and we think shining the light on these elements that drive value will do that”

Advisory Board

Keith Ambachtsheer

President, KPA Advisory Services; co-founder and board member, CEM

David Atkin

Deputy chief executive, AMP Capital

Lorelei Graye

Founder, Adopting Data Standards

Angélique Laskewitz

Director, Association of Investors for Sustainable Development

Neil Murphy

Vice-president, communications, Investment Management Corporation of Ontario

Each esteemed member of the GPTB advisory board brings a unique perspective on the importance of transparency and reporting from all corners of the globe. Their feedback and ideas have been instrumental in developing this concept.

Please note, your details will be shared with both CEM and Top1000funds.com. Your data will never be shared with any other organisations or third parties.

   

CEM Benchmarking is an independent provider of cost and performance benchmarking information for pension funds and other institutional asset owners worldwide. It believes ‘what gets measured gets managed’ and is deeply committed to helping clients run cost-effective operations that generate value for their stakeholders. With vast industry knowledge and a robust database spanning 28 years and $10+ trillion in AUM, CEM helps more than half of the world’s top 300 pension schemes understand and manage their costs and performance. CEM also facilitates better pension outcomes by sharing cutting edge research derived from its proprietary databases.

     

Top1000funds.com is the market leading news and analysis site for the world’s largest institutional investors. It focuses on leading the global investment industry to continuous improvement through case studies of best practice in governance and decision making, portfolio construction and efficient portfolio management, fees and costs, and sustainable investing. The publication pushes the industry to question whether status quo processes and behaviours to tackle risks and opportunities will be sufficient in the future, and actively campaigns for diversity, sustainability, transparency, innovation and better alignment of fees in the investment industry. Top1000funds.com is read by investment professionals in more than 40 countries.

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