S&P Issuer Credit Rating and Understated Pension Liabilities


Finance Seminar2019-23)

Topic: S&P Issuer Credit Rating and Understated Pension Liabilities

Speaker: Jun Cai, City University of Hong Kong

Time: Monday, 22 July, 13:30-15:00

Location: Room 217, Guanghua Building 2


The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) requires that the interest rate used to calculate the present value of firms' pension plan liabilities be based on 30-year Treasury bonds. The Financial Accounting Standard Board statement SFAS 87 suggests employers may also look to rates of return on high-quality fixed-income investments for financial reporting purposes. Firms have considerable latitude in choosing their pension discount rates. They often choose discount rates that are above the benchmark interest rates resulting in lower reported pension liabilities. We assess the magnitude of understated pension liabilities and relate them to S&P issuer credit ratings. We find understated pension liabilities have significant incremental explanatory power after taking into account standard control variables and other pension information such as funded status and mandatory contributions.


Dr. Cai Jun is an associate professor of Finance at Department of Economics and Finance, City University of Hong Kong. He received a Ph.D. in Finance from the Northwestern University. His research interests include asset pricing, time-series analysis, and Japanese capital market. He has published Journal of Business and Economic Statistics, Review of Financial Studies, Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Journal of Futures Markets, Journal of Empirical Finance, Journal of Banking and Finance, China Economic Review, Asia-Pacific Journal of Financial Studies, and Journal of Financial Markets.


Your participation is warmly welcomed!


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