Whilst financial reporting is a key area in the management of your pension scheme, accounting disclosures should be straightforward to produce in terms of your time and spend on adviser fees. Where real value can be added is if your actuary is proactive in identifying potential accounting issues and opportunities at an early stage.
Increasingly auditors are taking a much stronger line on their house view of what is appropriate methodology and assumptions. That is why you will want an actuary of sufficient calibre to work with your auditors to ensure that an appropriate final position is reached.
At bac, our team has substantial financial reporting experience. We can offer fixed fee solutions to cover some or all of the following areas, tailoring our package to suit your needs.
- assumptions setting
- production of disclosures
- discussions with auditors
- proactive updates on developments in the regulatory framework or investment markets that could impact your financial statements
- understanding the accounting implications of strategic actions, such as asset de-risking, liability management and revised funding agreements
- regular accounting updates, so you can track your plan’s position throughout the year
The Finance Director of a FTSE 100 client asked us to carry out an independent review of the assumptions being proposed for the year-end disclosures. Whilst there was some room for movement in the financial assumptions, we identified significant prudence in the demographic assumptions, in particular mortality and proportions married. The removal of this prudence meant the disclosures were a better fit with the accounting requirements and resulted in an improved balance sheet and P&L position. We often see demographic assumptions used for funding purposes carried over to accounting advice without much thought.
In the news this week, the Regulator confirms there are 37 authorised master trusts, the DWP consults on simpler annual benefit statements for DC arrangements, the ACA urges tax simplification and university staff are set to strike again.
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As pension trustees and sponsors get serious about good governance, a key question is whether technology can play a meaningful role or is simply an expensive addition that looks good but adds little value?
In this Pensions Perspective, Andrew Udale-Smith looks first at the different types of adviser review and when and how they might best be used. Then he focuses on how to design a smooth and efficient process for a full market tender.