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Approval of IPSAS 49, a new accounting standard for retirement benefit plans

13 September 2023

The International Public Sector Reporting Standard No 49 (IPSAS 49) “Retirement Benefit Plans” was approved yesterday (12 September 2023) at the meeting of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board  in Zurich, Switzerland. The IPSAS 49 will be effective for periods starting on 1 January 2026, with early adoption allowed. IPSAS norms are considered a critical tool to better management and the flagship accounting and reporting standards for the public sector.

We are proud of having played a leadership role in the creation of this accounting standard for public pension funds internationally,” said Karl-Ludwig Soll, Chief Financial Officer at the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund (UNJSPF).

The UNJSPF adopted the International Public Sector Accounting Standards in 2012, although specific guidance for pension funds was missing in the IPSAS. The UNJSPF asked the IPSAS Board for many years to close this crucial gap in IPSAS, which has now been done by the issuance of IPSAS 49. Finally there is clarity on the full IPSAS compliance of the Fund and readers of the financial statements will benefit from improved presentation of the Fund’s solvency status.

Karl-Ludwig Soll was a member of the IPSAS Board working group supported by four additional staff members from the UN Pension Fund to develop the Exposure Draft (ED82) Retirement Benefit Plans and drafting the final standard for IPSAS 49.

With the historic adoption of the IPSAS 49 retirement benefit plans, the UNJSPF is aiming to early adopt the new standard (which allows pension funds to report under IPSAS) for the 2024 financial statements provided the UN Pension Board approves the required changes in its financial rules.

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