Tuesday, December 05, 2006

IAS 19 to enter the risk-return continuum?

epn has an fascinating article about a possible approach to new pensions accounting, based on deconstructing any plan's risks into four distinct risk categories, accounting for them separately:
  • asset value risk
  • interest rate risk
  • mortality risk
  • compensation risk.
  • This way, it should be possible to move away from the current standard's black or white approach to classifying pension plans as DB if they do not match distinct DC criteria. Much of the article is dedicated to the analysis of Swiss and Belgian plans which by law feature a mix of DB and DC characteristics that force such plans to be accounted for as DB.

    Faithful representation of the economic reality of plan liabilities appears to be much better warranted under such a structured approach. Furthermore, corporate sponsors' risk management towards pensions liabilities will be much improved, if not enabled, since the industry has built a lot of experience in structured instruments. Some preparers may be fazed by the approach's additional complexity, but once they realise that it might actually help them to better mitigate risk, they ought to embrace it.

    No comments: