Pension scheme trustees are overburdened and decision making processes must change to ensure they have the capacity to make decisions, Aon Hewitt has said.
Data collected by the company's pension conferences over the past year has tracked how far representatives of pension schemes agreed with 12 'self-assessment' statements on decision making, roles and responsibilities and opportunities and strategy.
Trustees in both defined benefit and defined contribution schemes were aware that inefficient decision making slows their ability to respond to risks or opportunities.
Nearly 70% agreed that decisions sometimes take months from being raised to implementation, while well over half felt that the same issues were discussed at multiple meetings.
More than 60% of respondents felt it was often difficult to find time at short notice to give appropriate consideration to new opportunities; for example to take advantage of attractive short-term buyout prices.
Aon Hewitt said pension schemes should be organised so that trustees are best able to ensure the right decisions and actions are taken at the right time and that those concerned are the appropriate people to do this and have the necessary skills.
Trustees would need relevant information and advice and should act in line with whatever is their long-term objective, for example achieving pensions stability.
Aon Hewitt partner Paul McGlone said: "In an environment where opportunities can be transient - particularly in the investment and risk settlement markets - delays and indecision can lead to missed opportunities.
"This can result in an increase in the journey time to full funding and the risks that schemes continue to face along the way. Inefficiency increases the chance that these opportunities are missed."