Canadian pension funds outperform peers in new index

The Global Pension Transparency Benchmark aims to improve disclosure transparency to improve pension outcomes

Canadian pension funds outperform peers in new index
Steve Randall

A new index aims to help improve disclosure transparency for pension funds around the world.

Launched by Toronto-based CEM Benchmarking, the Global Pension Transparency Benchmark ranks 15 countries on public disclosures of key value generation elements for the five largest pension fund organisations within each country.

It is intended to create better information for pension fund members based on measures of governance and organisation, performance, costs, and responsible investing, which are measured by assessing hundreds of underlying components.

"We noted many areas for improvement within the overall global results. In many instances, disclosures for responsible investing, costs, and governance were non-existent or minimal. Transparency builds trust. It is the right thing to do and the smart thing to do. There is much room for improvement," said Mike Heale, CEM principal.

Overall, pension funds globally scored the best on performance disclosure, followed by governance, cost and responsible investment. However, while performance scored an average of 68 out of 100, the other measures reinforced the need for improvement.

Canada leads the way

Canada five largest pension funds were the high-scorers overall (average 74) with the best performance (average 84), best for governance (average 86), second best for cost (average 69), and equal-third best for responsible investing (58).

"Transparency is a positive word – it is about being honest and open with stakeholders. With this benchmark we offer a standard for global pension systems and funds to aspire to, and in doing so emphasise the importance of the need for clarity and openness," says Heale.

The benchmark can be found at