Heubeck 2018 G mortality tables published
The Heubeck mortality tables have been updated in summer 2018. It is expected that companies will have to take these changes into account when they prepare for their next balance sheets.
The Heubeck reference tables are the acknowledged basis in terms of valuing pension, jubilee benefits, funeral assistance and partial retirement obligations (ATZ) in Germany. They are used to determine which provisions need to be set aside and considered on the balance sheet. The changes therefore matter for companies that form the aforementioned provisions on their balance sheets, as well as for occupational pension funds.
Increasing life expectancy in Germany
The current version of the tables (2018 G) was published by Heubeck AG on 20 July 2018. It is based on the latest data provided by German Statutory Pension Insurance Scheme (Deutsche Rentenversicherung) and the German Federal Statistical Office. One of the main reasons for the update is the evolving life expectancy trend in Germany. Whilst the figures indicate that life expectancy in Germany continues to rise, they also show that the pace of the increase has slowed in the short term. At the same time, the new figures suggest that the life expectancy of men and women is converging, as is the life expectancy between people in the east and west of the country.
The tables have been revised on several occasions since 1947, with the previous update in 2005. The tables take into account mortality, invalidity, marriage and employee turnover probabilities. One of the changes compared with the 2005 version is that the new tables contain unisex figures. Furthermore, socio-economic factors, such as retirement income and the associated increase in life expectancy, have been factored in to the mortality calculations.
Impact on pension obligations
The impact of the update on pension obligations will vary from company to company, with key factors being the number of employees, the age structure and the pension arrangements in place at the company concerned.
Sven Pulpit, an actuary at Funk: ‘The need to form provisions will probably increase less than it was the case when the tables were last updated in 2005.’ The adjustment effort can be spread over three years in a company’s tax accounts, whereas it has to be recognised immediately in the financial statements.
According to Heubeck AG, this is done as follows:
Sven Pulpit on the next steps: ‘We expect that the Federal Financial Ministry will recognise the new legal basis and will publish an official document ahead of the next reporting season, i.e. in 2018. We contacted our clients directly on this topic as soon as the changes were announced. We will, of course, be happy to continue answering all questions on this issue, which is as complex as it is important.’
Correction of the new Heubeck 2018 G reference tables:
After publishing the new reference tables in July, Heubeck Richttafeln GmbH reported in September that the tables contained errors. Past inconsistencies were corrected in the recently published update. The actual changes and effects are estimated to be minor. It can still be assumed that accountants and tax offices will recognise the tables.
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