Myners defends his UK pension fund code of best practice

Paul Myners, City of London grandee, believes a flexible and open approach to investment decisions should mean private equity is an option for pension funds today.

Paul Myners, author of a 2001 UK report on best practice for pension funds, has defended his recommendations, which included increasing investment in private equity, as The National Association of Pension Funds has questioned their relevance.

Myners: still relevant today

In an interview with PrivateEquityOnline, Myners re-emphasised the core of his principle-based approach to pension fund management and the role private equity and other alternative assets can play.

Myners said: “[My report] is even more valid. In 2001 it was considered radical. Now it is considered to be pretty conservative.  It focussed on the increased competence of trustees and ensuring investment decisions are appropriate, rather than following slavishly one industry model of investment.”

He said his report encouraged the use of new asset classes and new investment techniques including private equity and hedge funds as well as other assets such as forestry and commodities by all pension funds.

“For some funds these will be appropriate strategies, for others not.”

His comments came after The National Association of Pension Funds launched a discussion paper yesterday.

The paper questions whether his regime is still best practice given the increased complexity of the pensions world, where fund deficits now show on company balance sheets and legislation and longevity present challenges to over-stretched trustees.

The association notes that Myners’ code enjoys higher compliance in defined benefit schemes, which are waning in popularity with employers.

Myners is on the advisory board at Englefield Capital, a European mid-market manager, which closed its second fund today.