# Confused with Periodic Pension Cost

CFAI Voume 2, Page-198 states, Periodic Pension Cost = Ending Funded Status _ - Employer Contribution _ - Beginning Funded Satatus. the same equation is also shown in the soloution to the EOC No-6 at page no 217. But untill now I knew the Equation as follows:

Periodic Pension Cost = Ending Funded Status + Employer Contribution - Beginning Funded Satatus

i am now confused. would you guys please clarify?

If you’re referring to Total Periodic Pension Cost, which it appears you are, the easiest way for me to remember the formula is: TPPC = Contributions - (Change in funded status); where you enter the contributions as a positive number, if the funded status is a(n) asset (liability) enter it as a positive (negative) number.

So, using the data on page 211 of CFAI Vol 2, TPPC = 693 - (-4774 - (-4984)) = 483

Just pay attention to your signs.

The first one could be correct (if you look at it properly); the second one cannot be correct (as written).

The first one is correct if you interpret a negative number (or a lower number) as higher cost, and a positive number (or a higher number) as lower cost; this isn’t an unreasonable way to look at it – we generally think of costs as cash outflows – but I’d say that it’s an uncommon way of looking at it, and most people would misinterpret it without some serious practice.

The second one is wrong, but easily fixed:

Periodic Pension Cost = Ending Beginning Funded Status _ + Employer Contribution _ – Beginning Ending Funded Status

= Employer Contribution – (Ending Funded Status – Beginning Funded Status)

= Employer Contribution – ΔFunded Status

This is the negative of the first formula, and is, I submit, more easily interpreted: a positive number (or a higher number) means a higher cost, and a negative number (or a lower number) means a lower cost.

I would like to specify something here which has been a great source of confusion for me as I have been reviewing pension accounting for the L2 exam. I hope this can provide useful for other people who may also be confused or reviewing this material. It has to do with Total Periodic Pension Cost vs. Periodic Pension Cost vs. Pension Expense.

To summarize and specify:

TOTAL Periodic Pension Cost = Contributions - Change in Funded Status = service cost + interest cost - actual return on plan assets +/- actual g/l on change in PBO assumptions + prior service cost

Periodic Pension Cost (NOT TOTAL) = Pension Expense on the P&L which varies depending on whether you are using GAAP or IFRS but uses EXPECTED return on plan assets NOT actual return on plan assets.

For GAAP, Periodict Pension Cost aka Pension Expense = service cost + interest cost - expected return on plan assets +/- amortization of actual g/l + amortization of service costs

So TOTAL periodic pension cost is not the same as periodic pension cost. Periodic Pension cost is the same as pension expense which is what runs through the P&L, not OCI, when looking at financial statement impacts.

I hope this helps clarify a subject which is simply way more confusing that it needs to be and diverts attention away from the actual learning of the material. I hope this is rectified in future material.

Thanks man!

One more thing for perodic pension cost in IFRS we dont include amortization of past service cost right?

There is NO amortization of anything in IFRS, only GAAP which allows for amortization of prior service costs as well as actuarial gains or losses due to changes in pension assumptions.

To further confuse things, KAPLAN Schweser uses the formula on p. 116 of L2 FRA book as:

Total Periodic Pension Cost = current service cost + interest cost - actual return on plan assets +/- actuarial losses/gains due to changes in assumptions affecting PBO + prior service costs

However, if you look at the CFA L2 Mock Exam AM Version 2 p. 21 answer to #6 it defines total periodic pension cost only as:

Total Periodic Pension Cost = Service Cost + Interest Cost - Actual return on plan assets

Yet, there is prior service costs expenses in the problem but they do not include them. However, according to Schweser, those should be included in the formula for Total Periodic Pension Cost.

The equation that matches the Employer Contribution formula should be the correct one IMO

Can someone write to Schweser and figure this out? Thanks

The reason #6 in the mock does not include the Prior Service Costs is because they are “amortization of prior service costs”.

This implies these service costs were incurred in another period through OCI, and would have contributed to that period’s Total Periodic Pension Cost.

I do agree it’s all very poorly explained.

Thanks for the explanation!

Nethw, So to make it in one sentence Periodic pension cost “US.GAAP” = service cost + interest cost - expected return on plan assets +/- amortization of actual g/l + amortization of service costs

Periodic pension cost “IFRS” = Current service cost + Past service cost (+/-) Net return on plan asset., is that true?? apparently, this topic is a nightmare given the very poor explanation provided by Kaplan.

U.S. GAAP: current service cost + past service cost + interest cost + actuarial losses - actuarial gains - expected return on plan assets

IFRS: current service cost + past service cost + net interest cost - remeasurements.

Lunacy is correct. Further breakdown below:

GAAP P&L: current service cost + interest expense - expected return

IFRS P&L: current service cost + past service cost + net interest expense

GAAP OCI: past service cost + (actual return - expected return) + actuarial loss

IFRS: (actual return - (liability discount rate x beginning plan assets)) + actuarial loss