Bank accounting not as good as it was – IASB

Accounting for banks was better before the introduction of recent changes
introduced to relieve political pressure, according to the head of the
International Accounting Standards Board.

Sir David Tweedie, speaking in and interview for the Financial Times, said
the changes, made to the way certain financial instruments are classified, were
undertaken to level the playing between users of US and international standards.

‘I think our accounting was better than the United States, they couldn’t
change at that particular stage so we had to move to them.’

The changes allowed IFRS users to reclassify securities from being held for
sale to held for investment and therefore avoid a fair value calculation.

The IASB made the changes in a bid to stave off demands for much wider
changes to fair value accounting which was facing a barrage of criticism.

Sir Tweedie made it clear that he was not happy with the controversial
standard IAS39, which has attracted much criticism.

‘I think we’d actually like to look at the whole standard again because if,
for example, you’ve got a treasury bond I could say I’m trading it, so I mark to
market and take gains and losses through income.

‘I could say I’m holding it to maturity, so I take the original transaction
price and I just keep it there until it matures and any gains or losses I take

‘Or, I can say it’s available for sale and I mark it to market but I don’t
put it into income until I sell it.

‘Now there’s three different ways of dealing with exactly the same financial
instruments. It doesn’t make a lot of sense. We inherited this standard. We
don’t think its great, and we’d like to change.’

David Tweedie’s TV interview

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