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Have pension plans changed after the introduction of IFRS?

Authors
  • Swinkels, Laurens1
  • 1 Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus Research Institute of Management, Rotterdam, NL-3000 DR, The Netherlands , Rotterdam (Netherlands)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Pensions: An International Journal
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan UK
Publication Date
Nov 30, 2011
Volume
16
Issue
4
Pages
244–255
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1057/pm.2011.20
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
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Abstract

In this article, we provide empirical evidence of an important economic consequence after major changes in accounting standards. More precisely, we document that several companies have switched their pension scheme from a traditional defined benefit (db) scheme to a defined contribution (dc) scheme. In many cases, the annual reports of the pension funds and their sponsoring companies state that the introduction of IFRS is the main reason for switching from a db to dc scheme. We also analyse which company or pension fund characteristics might be related to the decision to switch. Even though many companies seem to consider switching to dc schemes, already 12 out of the 44 largest company pension schemes have converted their pension scheme. This is an important economic consequence attributed to the introduction of new accounting standards. Our results do not indicate a clear pattern of company characteristics that predict which companies are more likely to switch, although the relative size of the pension plan assets compared with the company's equity seems weakly positively related to switching.

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