Wednesday, March 18, 2009

IASB to Change Fair Value Rules in Lockstep with FASB?

FASB changes to fair value “mark to market” accounting rules could be adopted quickly into IFRS. The IASB agreed on Tuesday to put out documents for comment IASB was getting ready to use the FASB’s exposure document for public comment as its own fair-value rule.

Rumours are that the IASB would have issued a statement on that Tuesday, however dissent among IASB members about the FASB proposal means IASB is debating for another say today (Wednesday).

It has been reported that a majority of IASB members will vote in favor of using the FASB proposal as a basis for IFRS convergece to that standard, with a comment period of 30 days.

Insider comments on the IASB’s move included:
  • FASB is allowing companies to "ignore" the traded price of a financial instrument in favor of using internal models to value the instrument. "It's going to be the higher of price or model, that will be the measurement." "What are we going to do when the banks organize a 5000-bank comment letter that says, 'Right-on baby, our earnings will go up, and we'll have no more losses'?"
  • "So you had to change the standard because the auditors ignored it?" "What makes you think the new FASB guidance is going to help?"
  • "I would ask whether the IASB should even consider whether the FASB proposal is worthy of mention ... Should we even consider doing anything or should we ignore it?"
  • "It's not a discussion paper, it's not an exposure draft ... what is it?" "Because we don't know what it is, that's why I wouldn't do it. If I was going to do anything, it would be to write a paper about why we're not doing it."
  • "As distasteful as it is, we've got to recognize that there is a crisis on and we can't totally ignore what another standard setter is doing ... it would sound as if we were ignoring the rest of the world."
  • IASB chairman David Tweedie hopes that that the IASB will converge global and U.S. standards by releasing the FASB exposure document as an IASB document.
  • Lynn Turner, former Securities and Exchange Commission chief accountant, said: “They are taking accounting standard-setting back four decades.” “The reality is that with this proposal, FASB is really suspending fair value accounting. The bottom line is that these type of things never gets reversed.”

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