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Aon partners with Leeds University Business School to explore DB trustees’ decision-making
Research project will evaluate behavioural biases and find practical solutions

LONDON (15 June, 2016) – Aon Hewitt, the global talent, retirement and health solutions business of Aon plc (NYSE:AON), is partnering with Leeds University Business School (LUBS) in a joint research project which will look at how behavioural biases affect the way in which defined benefit (DB) pension scheme trustees make decisions about their scheme investments.

Dr. Iain Clacher, Associate Professor in Accounting and Finance at Leeds University Business School, will undertake the research which is being designed to explore trustees’ perceptions and understanding of costs and value, investment risk and return, manager selection, as well as the role of bias in all these areas. The research will consider issues including trustee board dynamics and the role of advisers.

This research supports the work of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in its ongoing study of the asset management market, by conducting analysis on how behavioural biases can impact the way in which trustees understand costs, but also to consider how it impacts understanding of value.

Dr Iain Clacher, said:
“To date, research in this area has focused largely on corporate contexts, with little work available on the unique trustee environment – and even fewer practical solutions. With this project we are aiming to develop a base of knowledge which will enable the development of methods that will aid trustees in mitigating the effects of behavioural biases and ultimately improve both scheme governance and decision-making.”

John Belgrove, senior partner at Aon Hewitt, said:
“We have always been committed to supporting trustees in achieving the best for their pension schemes. Our aim is to ensure that we embed the best ways of presenting unbiased information into everything we do. We also want to consider how diversity of approach can aid effective decision making.

“It’s our firm belief that by understanding how trustees make decisions we can support the direction of travel from the FCA to ensure that areas such as costs are clearer.  But we strongly believe that you can only consider costs and value together.”

This research project builds on the work Aon recently undertook with behavioural insight agency, Behave London, which considered the behavioural biases that can influence trustee investment decision making and led to the development of the Aon Trustee Checklist.

Zoe Taylor, principal consultant at Aon Hewitt, said:
“The Aon Trustee Checklist has been a great success – we are continuing to receive numerous requests to download it from our website. It provides a straightforward tool which trustees can use to check their actions and avoid behavioural biases.

"This new research with Iain Clacher and LUBS will add to this practical toolkit, enabling trustees to make more effective decisions and helping them to achieve the right outcomes for their schemes."


Media Contact:
For further information please contact:
Colin Mayes                                           Marina Jané Sánchez        
Aon Hewitt                                             CNC
01372 733689                                         020 3219 8811         

Notes to Editors
About the research
Trustees of DB pension schemes will be invited to participate in the research.  Aon Hewitt and LUBS will work together to select a representative sample of DB trustees.

 If you are interested in taking part, contact

The research process will involve an online survey, designed by Dr. Iain Clacher and his research team, as well as a series of telephone interviews.

The Aon Trustee Checklist
Access it at

About Aon
Aon plc (NYSE:AON) is a leading global provider of risk management, insurance brokerage and reinsurance brokerage, and human resources solutions and outsourcing services. Through its more than 72,000 colleagues worldwide, Aon unites to empower results for clients in over 120 countries via innovative risk and people solutions. For further information on our capabilities and to learn how we empower results for clients, please visit:

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