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Business and Policy Areas
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FASB Revises Employers' Disclosure about Pensions and Postretirement Benefits

February 6, 2004

To better respond to financial statement users’ information needs about pension plan assets, obligations, benefit payments, contributions and net benefit cost, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) released revised Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 132 in December 2003.  The statement retains the standardized disclosures for pensions and other postemployment benefits per the original standard no. 132 (issued in 1998) and adds additional disclosure requirements on changes in benefit obligations and fair value of plan assets.  The additional disclosures should enhance the relevance and reliability of information, helping financial statement users understand the market risk of plan assets and amount and timing of cash flows.

The revised statement only addresses disclosures and does not change measurement or recognition requirements for pensions and other postretirement benefits required by FASB Statements 87, 88 and 106.  The statement’s reduced disclosure requirements for nonpublic entities are applicable to institutions of higher education.  The reduced disclosure requirements apply separately to defined benefit plans and defined benefit postretirement plans.  Cost recognition disclosures for defined contribution pension plans and other defined contribution post retirement benefit plans must be presented separately from the amount of cost recognized for defined benefit plans.   The revised statement no. 132 is effective for fiscal years ending after December 15, 2003.