PracticeAuditBank of England wades into IAS39 debate

Bank of England wades into IAS39 debate

The Bank of England's deputy governor today waded into the highly charged debate on IAS39, a new accounting rule that will impact banks' bottom line, calling for an end to rules that introduce 'spurious volatility'.

Link: Vodafone commits to IAS39

In a veiled attack on Sir David Tweedie, chairman of the International Accounting Standards Board, which is setting the new rules, deputy governor Sir Andrew Large urged standard-setters ‘to take a few steps back’ and replace the existing rules with ‘a less detailed and prescriptive standard’.

Addressing the central banking conference in London today, Large said: ‘It is essential that accounting standards have a clear economic rationale, promote comparability and secure adequate disclosure.’

The rewriting of IAS39 has been plagued by political intervention and fierce opposition from the banking sector. Most concerns centre on the use of fair value accounting of hedge funds, which opponents argue will not give the ‘real’ picture of their accounts.

The constant pressure, particularly from French banks, resulted in the European Commission approving a watered-down version in October for those companies that do not wish to adopt the IASB’s rule.

In less than six weeks, all European listed companies must begin filing their accounts using international accounting rules.

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