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Financial reports of pension schemes: Statement of Recommended Practice

The pensions SORP gives guidance on best practice for financial accounting and reporting of pension schemes. Find articles, books and online resources providing quick links to guidance, support and updates.

What's on this page?

  • Statement of Recommended Practice
  • Archived documents
  • Online articles
  • Bloomsbury Core Accounting and Tax Service
  • Books and articles from the library

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We also have separate resources on FRS 102: Employee benefits under new UK GAAP, FRS 17: Retirement benefits, IAS 19: Employee benefits and IAS 26: Accounting and reporting by retirement benefit plans.

Statements of Recommended Practice

The first statement (known as SORP 1) was published by the Accounting Standards Committee in 1986 and was based on the 1978 report 'Financial Reports for Pension Funds' from the Pensions Research Accountants Group. After this first statement the SORP making powers transferred to the Pensions Research Accountants Group. PRAG's role in pension scheme accounts is set out in its history.

Issuing body

Statements of Recommended Practice (SORPs) relating to pensions are issued by the Pensions Research Accountants Group (PRAG).

Sources for the SORP and associated guidance

The 2018 Pensions SORP was published in July 2018. This revised SORP updates the 2014 SORP in line with the current version of FRS 102 and the latest pension legislation. The 2018 SORP is effective for years commencing on or after 1 January 2019.

Information on the SORP is available from the PRAG but there is no free, online full text version of the SORP available. ICAEW member firms can access the 2018 SORP as part of the Bloomsbury Core Accounting and Tax Service.

Copies of the latest version (and earlier versions) are also available via the Library service, along with extracts of the following updates and guidance:

  • Pension Scheme Financial Statements and Going Concern
    Updated in December 2020. This edition incorporates changes made by revised ISA (UK) 570 and addresses the additional challenges trustees and auditors of pension schemes are likely to experience as a consequence of COVID-19 in meeting their responsibilities towards the scheme’s annual report, including the audited financial statements.

  • Accounting for Guaranteed Minimum Pension equalisation by pension schemes following the Lloyds judgement (2019)
    Published in March 2019. This guide explains how pension scheme accounts should account for equalisation liabilities for guaranteed minimum pensions (GMPs) following the Lloyds judgment on pension equality.

  • Guidance to the users of the pension Statement of Recommended Practice Financial Reports of Pension Schemes in relation to amendments to FRS 102
    Published in January 2016. An update to the December 2014 version of the SORP, this guidance covers disclosures required where the financial statements depart from FRS 102 and definition and disclosures for related parties.
  • Update on pension scheme financial statement disclosures and the requirement to obtain an auditor's statement on contributions
    Published in April 2016. This update highlights key aspects of the amendment to the Audited Accounts Regulations (SI 2016/229) and amendments to FRS 102 in March 2016.

Guides

Example trustees' annual report and financial statements: KPMG guide 2020
Detailed guide from KPMG containing an example trustees' annual report and financial statements, and pension scheme annual report disclosure checklist. Updated in January 2021.

Pension scheme financial reporting - A way forward?
Sample financial statements and notes highlighting emerging best practice for pension scheme reporting under FRS 102 and the revised SORP. Published by KPMG in April 2017.

Illustrative annual report and financial statements for a pension scheme under the new SORP
Model accounts produced by PwC in June 2015.

FRS102: An employers guide
Article published by the pension consultants Spence and Partners in November 2015 discussing advanced recognition of asset returns, multi-employer schemes with non-segregated assets and surplus recognition.

A practical user guide to the 2015 pensions SORP
A short, practical guide from Deloitte which highlights the differences between the revised 2015 SORP and the 2007 SORP. Published in February 2015.

What the revised SORP requires of your scheme reporting
A short article from Crowe Clark Whitehill focusing on the reporting requirements in the revised SORP. Originally published in Pensions Expert on 3 December 2014.

Archived documents

Exposure drafts, consultation papers and ICAEW representations

ICAEW REP 97/14: Statement of Recommended Practice: Financial Reports of Pension Schemes
Representation submitted by ICAEW in July 2014 on the exposure draft of the revised SORP published in April 2014.

Exposure draft – Statement of Recommended Practice: Financial Reports of Pension Schemes
Draft issued by the PRAG in April 2014 of a revised SORP. The draft differs significantly from the 2007 SORP and reflects changes made by FRS 102. The consultation period ended in July 2014.

ICAEW Rep 19/07: Financial Reports of Pension Schemes
Representation submitted by ICAEW on the exposure draft of the revised SORP released in December 2006. The representation was submitted in March 2007.

Financial Reports of Pension Schemes: Exposure Draft
PRAG published an exposure draft for the revised SORP in December 2006. The period for comments to be submitted closed on 21 March 2007.

Responses to trustee report and accounts discussion paper published
Press release from the Pensions Regulator, published on 30 November 2006, summarising responses to its ‘Review of the form and content of pension scheme report and accounts’ discussion paper.

Inclusion of Actuarial Liabilities in the Financial Statements of Pension Schemes
Notes published by the SORP working party for discussion on 26 November 2002. The consultation period closed on 28 February 2003 and a summary of the results of the consultation is now available.

Guidance

Bulletin 2: Guidance for Reporting Accountants of Stakeholder Pension Schemes in the United Kingdom
Guidance published by the Financial Reporting Council in February 2013, with an example report.

Reports

Accounting for Pensions
Report, published in September 2011, by Dr Iain Clacher and Professor Peter Moizer of Leeds University Business School examines the impact of mark-to-market accounting and proposes alternatives to current accounting standards.

The financial reporting of pensions: Feedback and redeliberations
Report setting out recommendations on how pensions reporting may be developed in the future. The report was issued in November 2009 by the UK Accounting Standards Board, the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group and a number of national standard setters across Europe. More information and related reports on the Financial Reporting of Pensions project are available from the FRC.

Report by the Financial Reporting Review Panel on the results of its review into defined benefit disclosures by companies under both IFRS and UK GAAP
Report published in August 2006 by the FRC giving an overview of results and conclusions, discussion of issues arising under IAS 19 and FRS 17 and a detailed analysis of IAS 19 disclosure requirements. A press notice issued on 2 August 2006 summarises the review, Financial Reporting Review Panel publishes Review of Pensions Disclosures under IFRS and UK GAAP.

Online articles

The Library provides access to leading business, finance and management journals. These journals are available to logged-in ICAEW members, ACA students and other entitled users subject to suppliers' terms of use.

Bloomsbury Core Accounting and Tax Service

Eligible firms have free access to Bloomsbury Professional's comprehensive online library, comprising more than 60 titles from some of the country's leading tax and accounting subject matter experts. Find out who is eligible and how you can access the Core Accounting and Tax Service.

Practical pension scheme accounting (3rd edition)

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Joanne Scriven, Shona Harvie, Phil Spary Practical Pension Scheme Accounting Bloomsbury Professional 2020

Practical guidance on the requirements introduced by the 2018 revision of the Pensions Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP). The authors explain what information is needed to prepare financial statements and how to go about compiling the annual report.

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Articles and books in the Library collection

To find out how you can borrow books from the Library please see our guide to book loans. You can obtain copies of articles or extracts of books and reports by post, fax or email through our document supply service.

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