A recent report by Paul Myners for the UK Treasury has provided a wealth of information
on the structure and operation of the pension fund industry in the UK. The report
points to serious deficiencies in the governance of pension funds. These concerns
are of considerable significance in their own right. But a fundamental focus of the
Review is on their impact on the provision of private equity in the UK. This paper
summarizes evidence from the Review and evaluates its proposed remedies. It concludes
that to the extent that there is a private equity failure in the UK, it has less
to do with the governance of institutions than with diversity and innovation in institutional
design. The paper argues that financial regulation bears critically on the extent
of institutional innovation and that US regulation has allowed its financial sector
to respond more readily to the needs of high technology sectors than the UK`s.
This paper was written for a conference on Corporate Governance: Reassessing
Ownership and Control at the Faculty of Law at the University of Cambridge
on 19th May 2001.
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