An Analysis by the Pension Committee of the American Academy of Actuaries
The American Academy of Actuaries is the public policy organization for actuaries practicing in all specialties within the United States. A major purpose of the Academy is to act as the public information organization for the profession. The Academy is non-partisan and assists the public policy process through the presentation of clear and objective actuarial analysis. The Academy regularly prepares testimony for Congress, provides information to federal elected officials, comments on proposed federal regulations, and works closely with state officials on issues related to insurance. The Academy also develops and upholds actuarial standards of conduct, qualification and practice, and the Code of Professional Conduct for all actuaries practicing in the United States.
FUNDAMENTALS OF CURRENT PENSION FUNDING AND ACCOUNTING FOR PRIVATE SECTOR PENSION PLANS In general, pension plan sponsors are concerned with two primary financial issues: • Pension Funding – the cash contributions that are made to the pension plan. Pension funding is governed by laws described in the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), which determine the annual minimum required contribution and the annual maximum tax-deductible contribution. Pension Accounting – the annual pension expense calculation and disclosure of a pension plan’s assets and liabilities in a company’s financial statement. The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) governs pension accounting under generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) in the U.S.
Amounts calculated under pension funding rules are completely different than those calculated for pension accounting, and one must be careful not to mix the two topics. PENSION PLAN COST: THE BASICS The cash contribution and pension expense calculations are both often referred to as the... [continues]
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