US SEC report on fair value accounting
The Securities and Exchange Commission submitted a report to US Congress on fair value accounting mandated by the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. The report recommends that the existing fair value standards should be improved, but not suspended and also makes eight recommendations to improve their application, including:
- Development of additional guidance and other tools for determining fair value when relevant market information is not available in illiquid or inactive markets, including consideration of the need for guidance to assist companies and auditors in addressing:
Î¦How to determine when markets become inactive and whether a transaction or group of transactions are forced or distressed
Î¦How the impact of a change in credit risk on the value of an asset or liability should be estimated
Î¦When should observable market information be supplemented with and/or reliance placed on unobservable information in the form of management estimates
Î¦How to confirm that assumptions utilized are those that would be used by market participants and not just a specific entity
- Enhancement of existing disclosure and presentation requirements related to the effect of fair value in the financial statements.
- Educational efforts, including those to reinforce the need for management judgment in the determination of fair value estimates.
- FASB examination on the impact of liquidity in the measurement of fair value.
- FASB assessment of whether the incorporation of credit risk in the measurement of liabilities provides useful information to investors.
In addition, the report also recommends that FASB reassess current impairment accounting models for financial instruments, including consideration of narrowing the number of models under U.S. GAAP.
30 December 2008