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DEVIL'S ADVOCATE - SHOULDN'T EVERYBODY HAVE THE RIGHT TO THE FACTS ABOUT A FUND?

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Spelthorne BC's Peter Harding gave some very sound accountancy reasons for paying off his council's share of the Su...
Spelthorne BC's Peter Harding gave some very sound accountancy reasons for paying off his council's share of the Surrey CC pension fund deficit (PT, February).
But one area he did not cover was the question of district representation.
Before anyone gets on their high horse, this is not another 'district blames county' rant. But it is wrong some councils have to shell out for decisions made by another party, ie the administering authority.
Of course, this can work the other way, with districts being rewarded with lower employer contributions as a result of outstanding investment performance which has nothing to do with them.
But surely a version of the old 'no taxation without representation' maxim should be applied.
Investment panels or sub-committees should reflect the amount each council contributes. This version of proportional representation would, if nothing else, foster a greater sense of collective responsibility for the health of the pension fund and work against the development of a blame culture.
But representation without information is no good. The time has come for comparative data on the performance of council pension funds to be publicly available. It is, after all, public money we are talking about. There could be real advantages here for administering authorities - once they get over the shock of occasionally appearing in the bottom quartile.
An authority with a poor funding level would be able to use comparative performance data to show it is heading in the right direction. And if it's not, well why shouldn't people get to hear about it?
-Devil's advocate welcomes contributions on any topic. Publication is unattributed and copy should be sent kept brief. Please send contributions to:
PT, Greater London House, Hampstead Road, London nw1 7ej. Fax: 020 7347 1831 E-MAIL: sue.hesk@lgc.emap.com
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