IASB makes fresh commitment to consider accounting in a crisis

The international accounting standard setter has said statements made on fair
value in the US do not amend the now controversial rule but offer guidance on
using fair value in illiquid markets.

Observers will interpret the statement as saying that fair value principles
remain in tact and no significantly undermined.

A fresh commitment has also been made to any study of accounting in the
current financial crisis.

The board said it would also examine whether US standards that allow assets,
in rare circumstances, to be reclassified so they escape a fair value principles
are consistent with international standards and whether the US practice should
be adopted. Discussion is due at a public meeting in mid October.

The need for anti abuse measures will also be on the agenda.

The remarks come after the US financial watchdog and standard setter made
statements which some have seen as a relaxation of fair value/mark to market
accounting while others have viewed it as a reaffirmation of its core

There has been intense political pressure in Washington and Europe calling
for a suspension of mark to market accounting. Even shadow chancellor George
Osborne called for a 3 month hiatus at the Tory part conference this week.

The IASB believes the US statement remains consistent with IAS39, one of the
key international standards for valuing financial instruments that embodies the
principles of fair value.

Sir David Tweedie, IASB chairman said: ‘The IASB is committed to doing its
part in responding to the credit crisis and recognises the need to provide
additional and needed guidance on determining the fair value of financial
instruments in illiquid markets. The SEC-FASB staff clarification on fair value
accounting is a useful contribution, and our staff believes that it is
consistent with IFRSs.

‘We will continue to ensure that any IFRS guidance on fair value measurement
is consistent with the clarification that has been provided by the US SEC staff
and the FASB staff.’

The IASB has a project underway reviewing IAS39.

Tomorrow French president Nicholas Sarkozy will propose suspending the use of
mark to market in Europe at a summit of European leaders. The US rescue plan
going through the House of Representatives also includes a provision reaffirming
the right of Securities and Exchange Commission to dump mark to market.

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