UK - A UK panel has found that defined benefit pension disclosures under International Financial Reporting Standards could be improved.

The Financial Reporting Review Panel said while the general level of compliance with the IAS19 standard was good it could be improved by companies.

The panel had reviewed the pension disclosures of 20 listed groups that used IFRS and 10 large firms that used the UK's FRS17 measure.

The objective was to evaluate the "completeness and clarity" of disclosures provided about pension schemes as required by the relevant reporting standards.

In a 15-page report, it called for fuller disclosure of the uncertainties  surrounding estimates and the impact of changes to these estimates in  relation to pension liabilities.

And it wanted "more consistent interpretation" of what is meant by the principal assumptions such as inflation and mortality assumptions.

"The Panel believes that divergence has arisen because IAS19 does not name inflation or mortality assumptions as principal actuarial assumptions to be disclosed, although both might be expected to qualify," it said.

It wanted "greater clarity" on the nature of the disclosures required.

But this was in part because IAS19 "provides no guidance on the type of disclosure required and the question arises as to who is intended to benefit from disclosures of this nature".

"Do they assist the expert? Do they make matters clear to the lay reader?"

The panel also called for clearer description of how the expected return on assets has been calculated.