The Effects of Enacted and Proposed Pension Accounting Changes
Mulford, Charles W.
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SFAS No. 158, released in September 2006, eliminates delayed recognition of pension plan and other post employment benefits (OPEB) components. For most companies, the changes caused by the adoption of SFAS No. 158 resulted in a reduction in assets, an increase in liabilities and a decline in shareholders' equity. In the first part of this research report, we examine changes to the balance sheet and its effects on measures of leverage and profitability for the 30 companies in the Dow Jones Industrial Average caused by the initial adoption of SFAS No. 158. In the second part of the report, we concentrate on likely other future pension accounting changes that could impact financial statements even further. In particular, we examine the possible effects on pension expense and income from continuing operations if full pension costs were recognized in income, instead of flowing through other comprehensive income. Using the past five years as a guide, we see a decided increase in earnings volatility that would result from such an accounting change.