The UK pensions landscape – A critique of the role of accountants and accounting technologies in the treatment of social and societal risks

Gabriel B. Kaifala, Catriona Paisey, Nicholas J. Paisey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The well-being of older people in society depends in part on their having sufficient financial resources to provide for their everyday needs, and to enable them to maintain their health and relationships. Pensions are therefore directly implicated in the well-being of older members of the population and hence are a potential source of significant social and societal risks. This paper critiques the role of accountants and accounting technologies in the treatment of the social and societal risks inherent in the UK occupational pensions’ landscape in relation to four characteristics of pensions’ security, namely that pensions should be predictable, stable, long-lasting and comprehensive. The UK pensions’ landscape has undergone rapid and fundamental change in recent years. A range of examples drawn from state, public and private sector occupational schemes are discussed. Across all sectors, while some people have gained, others have lost valuable pension benefits. In occupational schemes, employer costs have been reduced and pension liabilities have been de-risked, usually involving risk sharing with employees or risk shifting towards employees. The role played by accountants and other business advisers in quantifying, analysing and mitigating this work is critiqued. The rhetoric of de-risking, security and enablement inherent in the various pension changes, where the reality is often different, is examined and implications for social and societal risk explored.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102091
JournalCritical Perspectives on Accounting
Volume75
Early online date4 Jul 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

Keywords

  • De-risking
  • Occupational pension schemes
  • Risk shifting
  • Social and societal risk
  • State pensions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Information Systems and Management

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