The making and breaking of trust in pension providers: An empirical study of pension participants

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Trust in pension institutions is pivotal in making pension decisions, like saving or enrolling in pension programs. But which traits of pension institutions matter in making or breaking trust in providers like pension funds, banks or insurance companies? This paper presents an empirical analysis of the underlying forces of trust in private pension providers in the Netherlands. Based on a large-scale survey among pension participants, we show that the perceived integrity, competence, stability and benevolence of pension providers matter in assessing their trustworthiness. First, pension funds are more trusted than banks or insurance companies, a difference that is primarily related to weights attached to perceived levels of integrity and stability. Second, higher educated participants have a significantly higher propensity to trust pension providers than lower educated. Third, transparency as perceived by participants plays virtually no role in establishing trust.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-491
JournalGeneva Papers on Risk and Insurance-Issues and Practice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2018


  • Trust
  • Pension
  • Pension funds
  • stability
  • integrity
  • transparancy


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