This is the second article in a three-part series addressing the evolution of U.S. pension plan management and governance. This article describes the current governance structures of today’s public pension, focusing on the board of trustees and pension staff; briefly reviews current governance research about public pension trustees, and the importance of both adequate staff infrastructure and effective delegation as features of good governance; and explains the new delegation rule and why it should be a key element of long-term organizational change within the U.S. pension system. The first article highlighted how growth of public pension plans and fundamental legal or regulatory change, when combined with increasing pension portfolio complexity and the current underfunded status of most U.S. public pension plans, will be the forces defining pension evolution in the twenty-first century. The first article also included an explanation of why the growth of public pension plans and fundamental legal or regulatory change impacted pension plan evolution through the twentieth century. See “Understanding U.S. Public Pension Plan Delegation of Investment Decision-Making to Internal and External Investment Managers (Part One of Three)
,” Hedge Fund Law Report, Vol. 7, No. 3 (Jan. 23, 2014). The third article will focus on what the next phase of pension evolution may look like and also highlight how, at least in one area, governance research can be developed to be a true value-added tool for public pension plans and their trustees, potentially guiding the design of their governance structures and investment infrastructures. The author of this series is Von M. Hughes, a Managing Director at Pacific Alternative Asset Management Company, LLC.