“Hybrid” pensions may need new accounting rules-IASB

(Reuters) – An international accounting standards body said on Thursday it was looking at developing new accounting methods for “hybrid” pensions which did not fit easily into standard categories.

Companies around the world are moving away from expensive “defined benefit” or final salary pension schemes, which guarantee an income on retirement, in favour of “defined contribution” schemes which enable employees to build up a pension pot.

But many firms are also introducing hybrid pension schemes which do not fit neatly into either category, International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) Chair Hans Hoogervorst said in the text of a speech to a pensions conference.

“Modern pension schemes can have infinite variations, from the extremes of defined contribution through to defined benefit, with differing degrees and forms of risk-sharing,” Hoogervorst said.

Hoogervorst said the “somewhat binary approach” of existing accounting rules “struggles to deal with this new, infinitely variable pension landscape”.

IASB is researching a pension accounting method that works for all types of schemes, he said.

Fewer than a quarter of companies in Britain’s FTSE 100 index now offer defined benefit schemes to a significant number of employees. (Reporting by Carolyn Cohn; Editing by Vincent Baby)