UK - The Accounting Standards Board is softening its line on the controversial new accounting standard FRS17.
The move follows a meeting between ASB chairman Mary Keegan and technical director Allan Cook with work and pensions secretary Alistair Darling to discuss the implications of the FRS17 and why it differed from international accounting standards.
The ASB denies it has bowed to political and industry pressure which has been mounting as the impact of FRS17 on companies - and their pension funds - becomes increasingly apparent.
But the move represents a radical shift from the ASB’s uncompromising stance in December.
Speaking after the meeting with the ASB, Darling was damning about the panic caused by FRS17.
Darling was reported as saying: “You should never ever just take a snapshot on one particular day and say the company is good or bad.”
Agreement between the ASB and Darling was also reached on the need for pension surpluses and deficits not to be looked at “in the round”.
Over the coming year the ASB is to look at ways of converging FRS17 with the rules of the International Accounting Standards Board with particular reference to reporting of pension deficits and surpluses.
Cook said: “The difference is on how you deal with the surplus or deficit - we propose to recognise it instantly in the statement of recognised gains and losses; IASB defers and amortises it over a period of 10-15 years.”
He added: “We are looking at either moving towards the present international standard or whether the present international standard will move to us.”
By David Rowley
Most respondents in this week's Pensions Buzz do not think businesses should be able suspend AE contributions if in financial distress.
Former BHS owner Dominic Chappell has lost the appeal against his section 72 conviction and sentence for failing to hand over information to The Pensions Regulator (TPR).
This week's top stories include Marsh and McLennan Companies agreeing to buy JLT, and the home secretary calling for AE to be scrapped in a no-deal Brexit scenario.
Lesley Titcomb says the watchdog wants closer interactions with pension funds to spot problems sooner and act before having to use its more stringent powers