The effect of pension accounting on corporate pension asset allocation

The effect of pension accounting on corporate pension asset allocation We examine the impact of new pension disclosures and subsequent full pension recognition under FRS 17 and IAS 19 in the United Kingdom and SFAS 158 in the United States on pension asset allocation. These standards require recognition of net pension surplus/deficit on the balance sheet and actuarial gains/losses in other comprehensive income. Therefore, these standards introduce volatility into comprehensive income and balance sheets. We identify a disclosure period during which UK companies disclosed all the required data under FRS 17 in the notes without recognition. We also identify a full recognition period starting 1 year before until 1 year after the adoption of FRS 17/IAS 19 (UK) and SFAS 158 (US). We predict and find that UK companies, on average, shifted pension assets from equity to debt securities during both the disclosure and the full recognition periods. We also find that while before the adoption of SFAS 158 US companies maintained a stable allocation to equities and bonds, these companies, on average, shifted funds from equities to bonds around the adoption of SFAS 158. Cross-sectional analysis shows that the shift away from equities is related to changes in funding levels, shorter investment horizons, increased financial leverage, and the expected impact of the new standards on shareholders’ equity. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Review of Accounting Studies Springer Journals

The effect of pension accounting on corporate pension asset allocation

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2009 by Springer Science+Business Media, LLC
Subject
Business and Management; Accounting/Auditing; Corporate Finance; Public Finance
ISSN
1380-6653
eISSN
1573-7136
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11142-009-9102-y
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

We examine the impact of new pension disclosures and subsequent full pension recognition under FRS 17 and IAS 19 in the United Kingdom and SFAS 158 in the United States on pension asset allocation. These standards require recognition of net pension surplus/deficit on the balance sheet and actuarial gains/losses in other comprehensive income. Therefore, these standards introduce volatility into comprehensive income and balance sheets. We identify a disclosure period during which UK companies disclosed all the required data under FRS 17 in the notes without recognition. We also identify a full recognition period starting 1 year before until 1 year after the adoption of FRS 17/IAS 19 (UK) and SFAS 158 (US). We predict and find that UK companies, on average, shifted pension assets from equity to debt securities during both the disclosure and the full recognition periods. We also find that while before the adoption of SFAS 158 US companies maintained a stable allocation to equities and bonds, these companies, on average, shifted funds from equities to bonds around the adoption of SFAS 158. Cross-sectional analysis shows that the shift away from equities is related to changes in funding levels, shorter investment horizons, increased financial leverage, and the expected impact of the new standards on shareholders’ equity.

Journal

Review of Accounting StudiesSpringer Journals

Published: Apr 1, 2009

References

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