DC Pensions - will they deliver good value?

Ros Altman recently (Ft, 21 Nov 2005) questioned the ability of defined contribution schemes to deliver good pensions. We think that one way to make sure that they provide at least a reasonable return would be to make it impossible for companies to offer better schemes to senior and/or top management.

Does the age of board members really matter?

Research by Peter Hahn at the Cass Business School shows that the average age of non-executive directors at the largest listed British 150 firms has remained at 58 for each of the past seven years.
We think that non-execs should be stripped of any statutory powers and seen as pure business consultants or advisers. Age or past accomplishments would become irrelevant and performance only would count.
At present, non-execs are selected by management itself and not by the owners of the business. Until someone can find a formula how this deficiency can be rectified, it would be better to do without all this pretend corporate governance bureaucracy.

Funny games at Volkswagen

The inability of VW's board to bring Chairman Piech to account over the share transaction with his family's Porsche AG underlines that the role of non-executive directors is in urgent need of reform. The German system of Co--Determination (where staff/unions control half the board seats) just is an extra complication. Board Members are easily turned into 'insiders' that are in the Chief Executive's or Chairman's pocket.