FASB Passes on Pension Assumption Change Reporting

July 31, 2003 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) says that employers will not have to disclose the impact of actuarial assumption changes.

Yesterday’s determination comes after the accounting rulemakers agreed that existing and other proposed disclosure requirements are sufficient.   The decision is part of a series of deliberations designed to tighten current pension accounting standards by assuring greater transparency (see  FASB Closing In On Pension Reporting Rules ).   FASB agreed to add pension accounting and disclosure to its formal review agenda after receiving a plethora of complaints about current pension accounting standards and suggestions on how to enhance corporate disclosure (See  FASB Agrees To Look At Pension Accounting ).

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However, the board did not make a decision on whether to require more disclosure on post-retirement plans like health-care plans similar to the disclosure requirements for traditional pension plans, according to Dow Jones, citing a FASB spokeswoman.   After debating three possible approaches to that accounting issue, board members ended up without a ruling, according to the report.

A month ago, FASB tentatively ruled that public and private companies alike will have to tell investors and analysts whether they expect to change the amount they will contribute to a plan in a given year (see  FASB Tightens Pension Reporting Noose ).   Also under the proposed changes, employers would also have to reveal details about their investment returns, and information about where their pension costs are concentrated throughout the company

The decisions made at the Wednesday meeting will likely be included in a pension reporting proposal that FASB has said it plans to issue for public comment by the end of the third quarter.