Pensions lobby attacks changes
By: Jill Treanor
The Guardian, Thursday November 30, 2000
A three-year delay in the introduction of new accounting rules for
company pensions has failed to placate investors who believe the new
Accounting Standards Board rules will inject too much volatility into
company's profits and disadvantage pensioners.
ASB is today publishing rules which require companies to disclose more
information about their pension schemes and the effect changes in world
market will have on the value of the assets.
The ASB is not requiring the
rules to be fully introduced until 2003, but asks that companies start to
insert notes on the impact of the change into their annual reports from next
Alan Pickering, chairman of the
National Association of Pension Funds, said: "The longer it is delayed
He is concerned that pension
fund managers will try to avoid injecting volatility into accounts by taking
more conservative investment decisions which might be less lucrative for
pensioners. He also believes that companies may be discouraged from
increasing benefits to their pensioners.
Yet while the NAPF remained
opposed to the new rules - which have also attracted the attention of
Guardian Media Group chairman Paul Myners, who is heading the government
review into pension fund investment - other bodies welcomed the delay.
Actuaries Bacon & Woodrow said the delay could turn "disaster into
She said the decision to delay
the new rules was a consequence of the controversy they had evoked, but for
three other reasons. First, to prevent pension funds having to under take
new evaluations of their schemes; second to give the ASB time to lobby for
changes to international standards; and third, to give companies the
opportunity to start preparing accounts in line with the new rules.