The Big Question – FDs back pensions overhaul

Almost two in three finance directors believe companies should report pension assets and liabilities at market value, writes Nick Huber.

The Accounting Standards Board is expected to agree a new pensions exposure draft next month but experts warn companies could have to scale down employee pensions.

But in this week’s Accountancy Age Big Question, carried out in conjunction with Reed Accountancy Personnel, FDs backed the overhaul.

Nearly 60% of more than 200 FDs questioned said companies should report pensions assets and liabilities at market value. Most thought the improved transparency in reporting outweighed the downside – increased volatility in the company accounts.

Mark Welby, of educational charity British Academy, said: ‘The improved transparency outweighs the volatility when investment policy changes.’

David Weldrake of textile company W Fein & Sons said employees should know how their pension funds perform. ‘People who have an interest in the pension fund want to know what their assets are worth,’ he pointed out.

Only 17% finance directors thought the standard would damage pension funds.

‘Pensions and associated funds are not usually part of normal company trading,’ said Graham Bibby of Lowe Direct, the advertising agency.

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