Employee benefit plan investments often consist of marketable securities, such as common or preferred stocks, bonds, notes, or shares of registered investment companies, or various types of alternative investments such as common/collective trusts, pooled separate accounts, stable value funds, private equity funds, hedge funds, real estate investment trust, securities lending, forward contracts, futures, credit default swaps, and offshore funds.
The Center and the AICPA have taken a number of steps to compile and develop tools and resources to assist auditors in understanding various types of plan investments and in implementing the various accounting and auditing standards that relate to plan investments. Those resources can be accessed through the following links:
FASB ASC 820, Fair Value Measurement
Find tools, resources, and links to authoritative literature to help you implement and discuss with clients the provisions of FASB ASC 820.
Alternative investments often are used to achieve higher rates of return. Find tools and resources to help you recognize, understand, and audit alternative investments.
Stable Value Investments
Many defined contribution pension plans offer participants stable value funds as a conservative investment option. Find general and background information on stable value investments, information about the relevant auditing and accounting standards, and tips for applying them.
Plan Investments in Bank Collective Investment Funds
Bank collective investment funds are specifically designed under banking and tax laws for qualified tax-exempt retirement plans and certain trusts.
Insurance Company Products Offered to Employee Benefit Plans
This primer provides an overview of various types of products offered by insurance companies and discusses trusteeship and custodianship; identifying the various products; allocated vs. unallocated contracts; reporting; and references to the relevant accounting and auditing professional literature.
AICPA Audit Guide, Special Considerations in Auditing Financial Instruments
This guide provides auditors with background information on and a discussion of audit considerations relating to financial instruments.
Investments in Limited Partnerships and Reporting Such Investments on Form 5500 and 103–12 Entities
Pension funds are frequently investing in limited partnership private equity funds that may include hedge funds. These pooled investment funds are lightly regulated and not readily marketable, unlike registered investment funds, commonly known as mutual funds.