Wednesday, October 1, 2008

SEC, FASB Clarify Fair Value Accounting

SEC Office of the Chief Accountant and FASB Staff Clarifications on Fair Value Accounting

This seems like just plain common sense and a standard application of the rules. But it serves the purpose of starting the process of reconciling GAAP to the recently expressed views of investment bankers and politicians.


Can management's internal assumptions (e.g., expected cash flows) be used to measure fair value when relevant market evidence does not exist?

How should the use of "market" quotes (e.g., broker quotes or information from a pricing service) be considered when assessing the mix of information available to measure fair value?
Broker quotes may be an input when measuring fair value, but are not necessarily determinative if an active market does not exist for the security.

Are transactions that are determined to be disorderly representative of fair value? When is a distressed (disorderly) sale indicative of fair value?
The results of disorderly transactions are not determinative when measuring fair value.

Can transactions in an inactive market affect fair value measurements?

What factors should be considered in determining whether an investment is other-than-temporarily impaired?
In general, the greater the decline in value, the greater the period of time until anticipated recovery, and the longer the period of time that a decline has existed, the greater the level of evidence necessary to reach a conclusion that an other-than-temporary decline has not occurred.


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