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FASB testing the water for possible pensions accounting project

Financial Accounting Standards Board, Norwalk, Conn., plans to gauge the possibility of adding a pension accounting project to its agenda, according to Christine L. Klimek, senior manager, media relations and executive communications.

The Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Council plans to conduct a survey this year “to gather information about potential agenda items for the FASB, including pensions,” Ms. Klimek said in a statement. “Based on what we learn from the survey, it is possible that pensions will be identified as one of the areas that stakeholders want us to address by adding a project to our agenda.”

The council is FASB's primary advisory panel, advising the board on project priorities.

What pension accounting issues FASB would consider is undetermined at this point, Ms. Klimek said in an interview.

FASB has mentioned in the past couple of years plans to evaluate differences between its pension accounting standards and those of the International Accounting Standards Board.

FASB staff also are “conducting pre-agenda research on the topic of pensions, and expect to present (their) findings to the board later this year,” Ms. Klimek added in the statement.

She expects the council to conduct the survey sometime between the end of March and the end of June. The survey will go out to FASAC members — who represent a cross section of accounting statement filers and users, including investment managers, corporations and academics — and to members of other FASB advisory councils.

In addition, FASB plans to post the survey on its website inviting anyone to complete it.

FASB plans to announce closer to April when the survey will be available, Ms. Klimek said in the interview.

“We anticipate (pensions) will be something we will hear a lot about in the survey,” she said in the interview.