On Tuesday 15 July, 2014, the heads of international pension fund associations, investment and infrastructure experts and senior representatives from pension and superannuation funds met in Sydney at the inaugural meeting of the Global Investment Forum (GIF).
The objective was to develop a common understanding of the opportunities and challenges for long-term investing by pension and superannuation funds, and to put in place ongoing arrangements for these long-term investors to speak in common terms and with one voice in dealings with governments and others.
Pension and superannuation systems in specific countries are at different stages of maturity and there often are differences in system design and the taxation treatment of retirement savings. However, there are significant benefits to be gained from getting at least some degree of global consistency in regard to infrastructure investment. This includes:
- creating guidelines for governments and policy makers that enable them to better understand the environment
- funds delivering a consistent message to governments and infrastructure developers
- fostering investment and governance structures that best meet the needs of long-term investors and facilitate cross-border investment
- developing regulatory frameworks, which support and enhance long-term investments
- making data on infrastructure investment available across jurisdictions.
That investment in infrastructure has the capacity to deliver long-term returns for pension/superannuation fund beneficiaries and make a positive contribution to economic development is recognised in the establishment of the G20 Investment and Infrastructure Working Group (IIWG). The GIF will build on the recommendations coming out of the current round of B20 and G20 meetings to develop an action plan that will deliver to governments the basic requirements of long-term investors for successful capital-raising for infrastructure and other long-term investments.
This plan includes:
- The establishment of a Pensions 20 (P20) with formal links to the G20 activities, meetings and processes, and which will build on recommendations flowing out of the B20 on infrastructure and other long-term investing.
- The preparation of a report on the principles and protocols necessary to best align the interests of long-term investors with investment proponents. This will address issues such as the governance of investments, risk and return profiles, financial market and solvency regulation, and the degree of political and legal certainty required to support investments.
- PensionsEurope, the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) of the United Kingdom (UK) and the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA), as the representative organisations of many of the major pension funds from across the world, will work together to present a unified view when transnational issues arise. For example, internationally applied solvency rules or cross-border taxation issues would be well suited to such an approach.
- Bringing together the global pensions communities to better enable sound long-term infrastructure investment in both emerged and emerging countries.
About the associations involved
PensionsEurope represents national associations of pension funds and similar institutions for workplace pensions. It has 23 member associations in European Union (EU) Member States and other European countries, covering the workplace pensions of about 80 million European citizens.
The NAPF represents 1,200 pension schemes in the UK including defined benefit, defined contribution, group personal pensions and statutory schemes such as those in local government. Between them, NAPF members provide retirement income to nearly 16 million people and have combined assets of nearly £900 billion. In addition, the NAPF’s members include around 400 organisations providing valuable services to pension schemes.
ASFA is the peak policy and research body for superannuation (pension) funds in Australia. Its membership, which includes corporate, public sector, industry and retail superannuation funds, represents over 90 per cent of the 12 million Australians with superannuation.
The contact details for our respective media offices are as follows:
- Lucy Grubb, Head of Media and PR, NAPF:
Tel: +44 (0)7601 1726
Mob: +44 (0)7713 073023
- Matti Leppa¨la¨, Secretary General, Chief Executive Officer, PensionsEurope:
Tel: +32 2 289 14 14
- Lisa Chikarovski, Manager Public Relations, ASFA:
Tel. +61 (0)2 8079 0849
Mob: +61 (0)451 949 300