Group of national standard-setters urges IASB to consider hybrid pension plans

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Jul 04, 2018

In July 2018, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) released an agenda paper that will be presented at the upcoming meeting of the IASB's Accounting Standards Advisory Forum (ASAF), where the Canadian Accounting Standards Board (AcSB) will present the results of research performed to date by Canada, Germany, Japan, the UK and the US on hybrid pension plans, which are neither defined contribution plans nor defined benefit plans. The paper argues that further guidance on accounting for hybrid pension plans is needed to better reflect their economic characteristics and reduce diversity in practice.

A working group of staff from the standard-setters in the five jurisdictions embarked on research to produce evidence demonstrating whether there is a need for accounting guidance addressing hybrid pension plans. The working group's aim was to understand the experiences of jurisdictions around the world with hybrid pension plans and whether common issues arise as well as to determine whether existing standards adequately deal with such plans and identify possible improvements, if needed. The research is on-going and is currently being expanded to other jurisdictions.

The research so far provides evidence from multiple jurisdictions to support a need for guidance on accounting for hybrid pension plans and is sufficiently complete to be brought to the attention of others with a view to encouraging standard-setting action on this topic. Therefore, the working group proposes that the IASB consider the research performed to date and either add it as another dimension to the feasibility study Pension Benefits that Depend on Asset Returns in its research pipeline or take on a project to address hybrid pension plans.

Meanwhile, the working group will expand its research to other jurisdictions by summarising and analysing data collected from IFASS member jurisdictions, will expand outreach to financial statement users and academics within several jurisdictions, and will continue to monitor related activities.

Review the working group's paper on the IASB's website.

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