This paper analyzes the restructuring of private, occupational pensions in the Netherlands, Denmark and Switzerland. Despite the institutional similarities of all three systems (extensive pre-funding, collectively organized pensions, near-universal coverage), the three systems differ in important ways in terms of governance. The paper investigates the ways in which these variable governance structures shaped responses to the stock market downturn in 2001-2002. The Dutch occupational pension system experienced substantial retrenchment (shift from career earnings to average earnings formulae in defined benefit (DB) schemes as well as increased contributions) whereas the Danish and Swiss schemes sustained fewer cutbacks. The paper argues that the DB structure of Dutch pensions as well as the specifics of the regulatory framework forced a drastic adaptation to changes in financial markets, whereas the flexible defined contribution (DC) framework in Denmark and Switzerland facilitated a more modest adaptation to the market downturn.