Derivatives cloud debate

Accounting standard-setters at their meeting last week in Kuala Lumpur were bogged down by financial instruments and derivatives.

After seven days’ debate, the International Accounting Standards Committee board agreed an interim draft on derivatives, but only in principle. IASC staff will take in amendments and send out a new draft in the next few weeks. To speed the approval process, members will vote on the exposure draft by post, said IASC technical director Liesl Knorr.

The derivatives standard is the last and most controversial element in the IASC’s programme to deliver a core set of accounting standards to the International Organisation of Securities Commissions by November.

As well as debating the short-term exposure draft, the board voted to set up a committee to liaise with the writers of a more detailed, long-term standard.

‘The agenda was so large that lots of items were deferred until July,’ said Accounting Standards Board chairman and IASC board member Sir David Tweedie. UK technical experts are concerned the US-style interim standard will cramp the long-term version. ‘IOSCO is a pain in the neck, because it is diverting us from what we should be doing,’ said Tweedie.

Final standards on discontinued operations and impairment were approved in Kuala Lumpur. As a result of the second vote, the ASB will bring out its impairment standard within the next month, he added.

Related reading