Eliciting Pension Beneficiaries’ Sustainability Preferences: Why and How?

We explore whether beneficiaries of pension plans should have a voice in the fund’s sustainable investments. We hypothesize that the answer to this question depends on a fund’s legal and societal contexts, benchmarking pressure, and fund-specific factors such as the fund’s size and the board’s composition. We uncover heterogeneity in the degree to which beneficiaries are involved in decision-making. Some pension funds have started a dialogue with their participants, mainly using survey instruments. We provide an example of a fund that gave its participants a real vote, while avoiding the pitfalls that come with hypothetical surveys on individual preferences.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.

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