Unfortunately the figures needed to (dis)prove this are not readily available info as far as I know.My distrust of pensions is that 90% are eaten up by bad investment decisions combined with high hidden fees, charges and commissions. Particularly where one is 'advised' by a broker whose only interest is their commisison and not the well being of your pension.
I'm not sure how to form a view, but may be the best way is to dig up some related market stats:
Irish group managed funds posted returns of 4.9 per cent a year on average over the past 10 years, compared with an inflation rate of 1.8 per cent over the same period.
The 4.9% includes only a basic fund charge (often 0.4%), and it would not be a stretch to assume a further 1% could typically be eaten up by product charges (I've referrred to typical reductions in yield earlier in this thread), but that still leaves the typical fund in good shape.
The 20 year return is closer to 8%.
My conclusion would be that the average fund is obviously well above water right now, and anyone maturing their pension who had been investing regularly for 10yrs+ will most likely have done well.
There are a couple of further points:
1) There is a gap between different providers, someone invested with Standard Life is more likely to have done well than someone invested with Aviva
2) If you invested unusually large amounts at bad times (e.g. 5 years ago) you will not have done as well
3) The picture was not as rosy 18 months ago when 10 year returns were barely positive
To be honest Bronte, I strongly believe that you have based your opinion without accounting for the fact that customers who have made good returns don't run to Joe Duffy e.g. how many 90 year olds who have been missold equity products will actually take a case if their fund has done well?