1. Until the issuance of SFAS No. 158 in 2006 (now codified as ASC 715-30), companies reported the minimum liability (i.e. accumulated benefits) for pension benefits in the balance sheet. Companies are now required to measure their liability and calculate pension expense using projected benefits. Explain, compare, and contrast the two alternative approaches in the context of the conceptual framework and argue in favor of one approach over the other. Consider the impact of the alternative approaches to JP Morgan Chase’s financial statements.
2. Under ASC 715-30-35-18, immediate recognition of gains and losses from changes in the value “of either the projected benefit obligation or the plan assets resulting from experience different from that assumed” is not required. Instead, companies may accumulate these amounts in other comprehensive income and amortize a minimum amount, calculated using the corridor approach. Identify the approach used by JP Morgan Chase and discuss alternative approaches that are still in accordance with authoritative guidance. Provide at least one example of a company that has chosen an alternative approach and discuss the implications of that choice to their financial statements in the short and long-term.
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