IASB chair sparks fresh tensions with European regulators

A clash may be looming between the new man hired to oversee the work of the
international accounting standard setter and European regulators.

Gerrit Zalm ­ the new chairman of the trustees of the
International Accounting
Standards Board
and a former deputy prime minister and finance minister of
the Netherlands ­ admitted this week that ‘Europe may need more attention [from
the IASB]’, but also warned the continent that he intends to remove the European
version of IFRS that has been approved and is in use by European companies.

‘One of my first priorities will be no new carve-outs in Europe and trying to
get rid of the existing carve-out, because if Europe is doing this, other
countries could get the same inspiration and then all the advantages of the one
programme fade away,’ he said.

His comments may shock those European companies that recently petitioned the
US Securities and Exchange Commission to accept filings using IFRS amended by
the EU parliament. Zalm hinted at the political nature of his appointment this
week. ‘I expect that there will be political complications in adopting these
standards, then my political background can be of use,’ he warned.

His remarks follow months of tension between the IASB and the
, as parliamentarians accused the IASB of being too closely
aligned with the US.

The chairwoman of the European parliament’s economic and monetary affairs
committee Pervenche Berès has clashed with the organisation over adoption of the
segmental reporting standard IFRS 8, part of the international convergence plan
that the IASB adopted nearly verbatim from US standards.

Berès said at the time that ‘the IASB should pay more attention to the
concerns of jurisdictions that require companies to apply IFRS. Moreover, many
jurisdictions across the world are moving towards IFRS and the IASB should also
pay more attention to those jurisdictions’.

Zalm was not available to comment this week.

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