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Conference Materials

Evolving Roles for Regulators in the Pension Arena

E. Philip Davis

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Abstract — The role of regulators in pensions has been transformed in recent years, with underlying forces including the ongoing shift from defined benefit to defined contribution pensions, the shift to risk based supervision for defined benefit and defined contribution plans, the role of accounting standards and transparency (contributing to market discipline) and the turbulence in financial markets. We provide an overview of the evolution of regulation using evidence from selected countries under each topic. We contend that a number of the developments in regulation have played a part in the shift of pension portfolios towards lower risk, that may yet cause difficulties for future pension income. These shifts also leave open a number of outstanding questions, notably whether education of consumers is sufficient, the role of longevity risk and whether regulation can be made more counter cyclical.