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UK: actuarial liability disclosure “meaningless”

UK - The Pensions Regulator says 83% of respondents to a consultation reckon the inclusion of actuarial liabilities within pension funds' financial statements would be meaningless and costly.

The regulator issued a discussion paper on current pensions disclosure requirements in June this year, and published the responses today in a 46-page report.

Among the questions asked was whether the inclusion of actuarial liabilities within the primary financial statements would add value to the reader.

It said: "The overwhelming majority (83%) of those that expressed a view on this aspect were opposed to including the actuarial liabilities in the primary statements, preferring more extensive use of either the actuarial report or disclosure only within the annual report.

"Many cited the argument that the range of values depending on the assumptions rendered a single figure meaningless.

"Most also believed that there were significant cost considerations of including the actuarial liabilities within the audited accounts.

"The scope of the audit would need to be extended such that the auditor was able to give a true and fair view of the financial transactions of the scheme during the year, including liabilities to pay pensions and benefits after the end of the year."

And it was also important to note that recognition of any net actuarial surplus or deficit in the scheme accounts would also result in the need to recognise a corresponding asset (amount recoverable from employer) or liability (for fully funded schemes).

Elsewhere, Aon Consulting said corporate pension deficits fell by around 10% over November to £46bn at the end of the month.

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